I was so excited to try my hand at making an aged cheese on January 2nd – my last day off before returning from the holidays. What a great way of starting the new year.
I had already purchased all the remaining supplies I needed.
I was raring to go. It was going well. I heated the milk in my new much larger container. I added the bacteria starter and let it ripen. Then I added the rennet to firm it up. I had some difficulty keeping it at the right temperature, but it was in the ball park.
The curds didn’t set quite as firmly as I was expecting, but they were firm-ish, so I kept going. I cut the curds with my curd knife, and stirred them gently. I slowly raised the temperature. Then it was time to drain them.
Pressing the curds went well at first, but the 50 pounds was a bit much for my set up.
It involved a lot of glass clean up and googling, “repairing chipped tile.” But after all that drama and some help from DH2U, I had my pressed cheese.
I let it develop a rind for the four days recommended. The edges developed nicely.
Then I waxed it. It was fun and messy and much more difficult than the directions sounded. But then, I had my cheese! All that was left was to wait 2-3 months to try it.
Except – it leaked.
It wasn’t supposed to leak. There was enough fluid buildup that it made a small hole in the wax. I thought it would end soon, but each time I flipped it, more fluid was underneath.
I suspected it was bad, and the Googles confirmed my fears. One of the main reasons for this catastrophic, no going back failure is not having the curds set hard enough at the beginning. D’oh!
So this was my trial run. I now have the skills I will need. And hopefully the cheese that is now waiting for its rind to develop will properly set up and not leak. Fingers crossed.