Whey to go!

Yesterday I had two resources: raw milk and time, so I got back to experimenting with making hard cheese. Time is an important factor, as there is lots of intermittent activity on day one… heat up the milk gently, add micro-organisms, leave for an hour, add rennet, leave for an hour, stir, leave, heat whilst stirring… and on it goes. Even during the periods between activity, you have to keep an eye on the temperature, so cheese making requires a dedicated day to get things started. I really love the process – working with living organisms and enzymes means that apparently magical transformations take place rather like bread-making, but with less immediate results. Here is the process in pictures…

Now I have to increase the pressure to the full level and then leave it for another 24 hours. The ricotta that I made from the whey is ready for use and I will turn some of it into a lemon cheesecake later, I think. In addition there’s 3.5 litres of whey in the freezer ready to use in cooking or as chicken feed. The only waste from this process is a very small amount of salty whey.

Only time will tell how successful I have been, but it was certainly a lovely way to spend a dull winter’s day.

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11 Comments

  1. I’ve always felt cheesemaking was a cross between witchcraft and chemistry. You have to be reasonably precise about the quantities of the additions, but effects can be variable, slightly random and always have a touch of the abracadabras about them!

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  2. The whey is excellent in home made bread – just use instead of water. Or use it in soda bread to replace buttermilk. For scones just flour, fat, sugar if you want them sqeet and whey (no egg or milk) is fantastic. I learned to make cheeses working for Llanboidy Cheese and also made some at home but as I am intolerant to milk and live alone I do not do it now. What I really miss is the whey to go in all that baking! Incidentally even commercial makers like Llanboidy where timings, temperature, acidity etc. Were carefully standardised got variable results because the milk itself varies depending on the season of the year and the lactation stage of the cow.

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  3. Oh my I bet it will be delicious.

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  4. Definitely gearing up to trying this!

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  5. Isn’t it fun to learn something completely new?! This looks fascinating–I’ll watch for progress reports!

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  6. Oh, how exciting! I’m intrigued to see how it turns out… And I never knew whey could be so useful. I might have to see if I can interest Boyfriend in giving his own cheese-making exploits another go!

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