Family Life

Home cheese making

Two posts in two days!
But I have to tell you about our attempts at chabichou (Persian feta) at home.
Firstly, the overnight esky worked a treat in keeping the test water warm, so we haven’t been shopping for fish tank supplies ( see yesterday’s post if this doesn’t make sense to you) my 29 degree water was still at 27 degrees after 10 hours, and since I have a few degrees to play with, I decided that would do.

All tucked up for the night
All tucked up for the night

So, the first job was to get everything REALLY clean. I made up a solution of iodine, the only instructions as to strength being to make it look like apple juice. I think I did OK.

The "apple juice" iodine solution
The “apple juice” iodine solution

Everything had to go through this solution – bench tops, containers, pots, scoops, hands. Everything except the rennet which apparently doesn’t like iodine, so I used hot water for that. Then we heated the milk to 28 degrees to allow for a little cooling while I fiddled and faddled in the kitchen. We added microscopic amounts of starter and lipase and rennet (just 2 drops of rennet) and were left with what still looked frankly just like milk. Then into the esky with a hot water bottle for the night.

My parents are staying with us for a month or so, so it was great to have Mum as a partner in crime for the cheesemaking, and as the supplier of the milk.

Thanks Mum for the milk
Thanks Mum for the milk

At lunchtime today the curds were set, so I strained off the whey, and slowly scooped the curds into the (iodine dipped) containers.

scooping out the curds
scooping out the curds

Once the hoops were full, we let them drain, while mum and I made cheesy jokes. The cheese has been salted on one side, and in 4 hours we have to flip it and salt the other. I can’t wait.

half way there
half way there

The last tricky bit was flipping the cheese and getting it back into the container. Somewhat successfully managed, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

Flipping the cheese
Almost straight!

I figure the time taken to make the cheese was about an hour in total. Half an hour Saturday night and half an hour at lunchtime. The cost for the milk was $13 and we’ll have 7 cheeses, so I think it will be a worthwhile exercise, as well as lots of fun.

The final product after we put it into oil will look like this. (This is one we prepared earlier, in Canberra with Graham Redhead) This earlier batch I can definitely vouch for – it’s sooo good. Hopefully this batch will live up to the last one.

Our finished Persian Feta
Our finished Persian Feta
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