The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Food & crafts => Food processing => Topic started by: Cavendish on October 07, 2011, 09:10:49 am

Title: Cheese Making
Post by: Cavendish on October 07, 2011, 09:10:49 am
Hi all, I am thinking about delving into cheese making and wanted to see if anyone has previous experience with it or is currently making cheese?.
Was it worth the time and effort, I am guessing that if you made enough then yes it would be, also how does it work out money wise, did you save money or break even compared to buying the same amount from the supermarket.

Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: DJ_Chook on October 07, 2011, 09:35:31 am
It cost more. But if the milk was on offer that week it could have been cheaper. I bought some of those 1kg £5 blocks of mature cheese from Iceland and dipped them in wax. After 3 months they were great, 6 months amazing, after 12 months the cheese was so matured it made my throat tingle.
Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: McRennet on October 07, 2011, 01:55:08 pm

I can safely say that having studied cheesemaking for a year it is very much worth the effort. It does of course depend on whether or not you would like to make it part of your business as then you will have certain legislation to abide by and this may/will have cost implications.

I don't recommend buying the cheap cheese and hanging onto it. Make your own, it so much more fun and expecially if you have your animals producing milk then it's a great way to utilise excess milk.

I should also state that even if you are producing your own cheese then there are rules and regs, especially if you plan to give any away to friends and family.

I am more than happy to give you any information I can regarding this if you would like. Be that on a small scale in the kitchen or larger.

The one bit of information I would give is that it's such a good idea to go see someone else doing it, then you will have something to relate to when you read any books etc. Do remember that there are so many different types of cheese out there, some easier to make than others and some better suites to certain milks.

Hope this helps a little and good luck! 


Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: SallyintNorth on October 07, 2011, 02:43:05 pm
I make cheesey type things with my Jersey house cow's milk.

Curd cheese is easy and makes fabulous cheesecake, which BH loves.  Given that we have the milk and he used to buy a lot of cheesecake, this is a real winner both in terms of taste and economically.

I love cottage cheese, used to buy a lot, at the moment don't really eat it as I have found it a lot of work to make.  (I loved what I did make, just found it a lot of work.)  However I am now gearing up a stage (just bought an electric cauldron so I can control the temperature of a larger quantity of milk / culture) and hopefully that will make all the rennetted cheese products easier.

I make a soft rennetted cheese when I've got enough curd cheese for his lordship's cheesecakes and some milk and time left over.  Sometimes it's like feta and lovely in salads, sometimes it's more camembert-ish and good melted on toast.  Sometimes BH likes it sometimes he doesn't.   I nearly always do.  This is pretty easy to make and, given that I have the milk, much cheaper than shop-bought.  I hope that once I get my cauldron up and running I can control what type of soft cheese I am making more readily - get it a bit more judgement than luck!

I tried one hard cheese, had a lot of problems (some just getting called away at the wrong time sort of thing!) but even though it wasn't a good one, you could see that when I get it right it will be fabulous.  It is a lot of work, however.

I made a rennetted buttermilk soft cheese and it is amazing.  Adding a bit to the curd cheese also lifts a cheesecake to another level.  I have a lot of buttermilk as I make all my own butter, so will now make this from time to time.

I have not found it easy to manage the level of cleanliness and the correct temperatures and humidity that are required, and keep the flies off what is draining or maturing in my small, out-dated jumble of a working farmhouse kitchen and larder.  But I'll get there, one step at a time...  :D

If I didn't have my own cow, I would only bother to make my own cheeses if I could get good raw (or at least minimally processed) milk locally.  I haven't tried making cheeses with shop-bought homogenised stuff but really wouldn't expect it to be worth the effort.
Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: Crofter on October 07, 2011, 08:44:45 pm
With 2 goats it's more a case of what would I do with the milk if I didn't make cheese!
We make at least one hard cheese a week which we wax and store. They seem to keep, and improve for a long time. We are currently eating cheese from the end of the last lactation dated December 2010.  there will be a jump to April 2011 after that when the new lactation started.

We got our original ideas from a book but now have our own method which results in a cheese somewhere between a Cheshire and a Cheddar.
We often make soft cheese, camembert type and stilton type too.  It's time consuming and takes a while to get into a routine to make it regularly but it's definately worth it to us.
Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: Cavendish on October 12, 2011, 12:17:51 pm
thanks for all of your posts, initially i will be doing basic soft cheeses, which I have done a few times before but want to learnt the process better, I would like to make hard cheeses and the Brie / Camebert type as I love these when there really ripe!!.

start small and see where it goes. my only concern and has been pointed out would be humidity & temperature control etc.

I have no animals to milk, apart from the cat I dont think it would like that, so initially will be using shop bought milk, do any of you know if that is good enough to make hard cheeses?
Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: Crofter on October 12, 2011, 12:26:30 pm
If you're using shop bought milk, I would use full fat organic. Full fat as cheese is, largely, fat and organic as it is unlikely to be contaminated with antibiotics which will affect the cheesemaking process.

Hmmmm.......Cat's milk cheese, now there's a niche product!
Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: SallyintNorth on October 12, 2011, 02:19:00 pm
I have no idea what effect homogenisation of the milk has on the eventual cheese.  (McRennet?)  You can get unhomogenised milk if you work at it, but most are now homogenised.

From memory, I think the Gold Top (Channel Islands) milk that Tescos and Waitrose (to name two) sell is not homogenised, although like all shop-bought fresh milk it is pasteurised.  Otherwise I can't think of anyone near you producing unhomogenised; there is a cheesemaker operating on Helen Browning's organic farm (Bishopstone Cheese at Eastbrook Farm in Bishopstone) who I presume still gets his (raw) milk from her, but she sells the rest of it to OMSCo for Yeo Valley.  (Which, sadly, is homogenised by the time it reaches the shops.  :() 

I expect there will be an organic, unhomogenised milk in your local Waitrose if you hunt for it.
Title: Re: Cheese Making
Post by: Rich/Jan on November 16, 2011, 10:40:07 am
When living in UK and had an abundance of goats milk I made the soft cheese to which I added garlic and fresh herbs.  Didnt last long with my family.  I also tried a stilton-type of hard cheese which took about 6 months to mature and stank the house/fridge out.  Have too many animals over here now to bother - OH keeps thinking it would be a good idea but yet another animal albeit cow or goat to feed/clean/milk - so its a no no for me.  If I could find a good source of goats milk fresh from the supplier I might give it a go.  I still have all the equipment including the press and coulomier moulds etc.