I finally dove into my cheesemaking yesterday. I didn't mean to wait until so late in the month but stuff kept happening and I couldn't find an entire day to devote to the process.
Starting off with whole milk from Whole Foods.
Using the thermometer from the kit...
only to discover that ours works so much better!
At the end of step one, the milk was starting to change form.
I did a really messy job turning it into curds.
Draining some more.
Starting the drying process.
Drying while covered in cheesecloth.
I started the process yesterday morning around 10. I think it was 11PM or so when it was finally ready to add the ingredients for the brine. This morning I had to get up early and lay it all out so that it could dry flat. I've been rotating the cheese every couple of hours today so that it will dry on all sides. I have to do the same tomorrow and then Sabbath morning it finally starts the ripening process. It will be another week before it's ready to eat.
What have I learned? This takes a lot of time and way more patience than I possess. I had SUCH a hard time keeping the milk at the right temperature. It was supposed to be heated indirectly so I placed the pan on top of my frying pan. The frying pan was filled with water and heated, which then heated my pan and the milk. Even with that, I couldn't get it hot enough and then I way overshot the target temperature. To be honest, I might have ruined it. It smells like cheese but it's pungent. It's supposed to ripen into feta cheese, which I know has a strong smell. But this is slightly different. I'm not sure if it's normal or if I ruined the cheese when I heated the milk too hot. We're going to wait until tomorrow to see if the smell changes and decide if we're going to keep the process going or toss it out and try again some other time.
Either way, if I end up with trash or cheese, it has definitely been a learning experience. I had no idea cheesemaking is so HARD!