The pots are out! Is it canning season already?

Actually, no.  What’s begun?  Cheesemaking Season!

bubble hiss bubble hiss

But what Cheesemaking Season requires of me first is a whole bunch of culture-making.  Thus, Monday night saw many pots on the boil, some to make buttermilk, some to make fresh starter, some to make thermophilic starter*. Oh, and one held the milk for the week’s yogurt, too.  I wonder how I thought those two gallons of milk would be all for me?  They’re not!  It’s all for The Greater Cheesemaking Cause.

I am really glad the girl decided that tonight, of all nights, she’d go to bed early.  I love having her around but multitasking isn’t something I do well if I am attempting something new.  And new-to-me things like a whole mess of cheese prep means I am all tense between the shoulderblades, fussing around, clucking like a mother hen as to is this right?  did I do this right? when my normal modus operandi is a lot more…chill.  I hate that tight feeling!  Luckily, the gods of yeast clued our ancestors in to create a cure:  it’s called a glass of wine.  I honor their creation by taking a sip and I think, well, centuries of cheesemakers’ kitchens weren’t as clean as mine, what’s my worry?

With luck this process will go more smoothly than my fussing around tonight.

I do have a lot of dairy goodness ahead of me, though.  Getting used to the new routine will be interesting.  And then there’s goat’s milk soap, kefir, etc. etc. to make…

*why bother with all the starters?  Well, it bugs me to no end, the idea that I have to be beholden to some company or another to supply me the goods to actually make something.  Can’t I d.i.y.?  And what would Ma Ingalls do?  Indeed.  It just takes planning and prep work, like tonight.  And buying someone’s starters, then multiplying them for future use.  Considering this is all a grand experiment, I would rather go through the process and THEN tell you how successful it all is.  That’s only fair; no sense your repeating my mistakes, no?

13 responses to “The pots are out! Is it canning season already?

  1. Definitely post an update! I haven’t tried cheese making yet, but its on my list of things I want to try this year. I have made yogurt and it turned out fabulous! I too, am a little bothered about why I should be making cheese if I have to buy the ingredients to do it (except for the sheer fact of “I did it” which does have value I admit). So, I will be anxious to see how it all turns out for you!

    I’ll be checking back.

  2. I’m interested in how you plan on keeping all your starters, and how did you figure this all out? So, of course I’m interested. Don’t have dairy animals, tho’, so this will be purely academic for me.

  3. Hats off to you! Our milk share increases in May so I’d better get ready to start making some cheese. I do it with purchased starters, I’m not *that* ambitious. Although people still think I’m crazy for making cheese in the first place. Despite their concerns about my mental state I still get requests for fresh mozzarella.

  4. Sounds like lots of fun. I find I can make about 2 batches of yogurt before I want new starter. I guess I’m not staying on top of it. On the other hand, my sourdough is working well. I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  5. cheesemaking season has begun here too. I don’t mind buying the ingrediants because for $20 I can enough to last me virtually the rest of my life. What do you use for rennet though?

    • Oh, rennet doesn’t count unless I suppose I am up for harvesting and drying one of the kids’ stomachs. (Yeeps.) Nah, I buy it from Hoegger’s, both the veg and the tablet. I saw your chevre yesterday! Inspiring.

  6. YES, please update with another post when you find out if your trial at making starter works out. I’ve had the same problem as you have had in the fact that I have to buy starter when I’m supposed to be “making my own” cheese. I’d love to know how to make my own!

  7. I’m so glad you’re posting this! Buying the starters is what’s prevented me from trying out cheese-making — I priced it out and decided it’d be nearly as cheap to by the cheese in the store. I’d love to be wrong!

  8. “Luckily, the gods of yeast clued our ancestors in to create a cure: it’s called a glass of wine.”

    HAR! I like your outlook!

    I’ve only done minimal cheesemaking in the past- mostly the easy stuff like ricotta and mozzerella, but I’m determined to try an aged cheese this year. Would love to make a nice, sharp cheddar! And I want to see your Kefir recipe!

  9. Jeanna, hi. I will be posting about how it all goes. There is something to be said for purchasing certain mold spores to make good-n-stinky moldy cheese, but yeah, just to do the simple stuff you shouldn’t need to go back to the sellers all that often. That’s my theory anyway; I will surely let you know how it all tallies up and how successful I am.

    Paula, well, icecube trays are the way to go. One cube equals about an ounce of starter so that’s what I am doing. Needed to make the mother cultures first though! And I hear you on the academics. I was all academic about chickens until I pulled the chicken trigger.

    Wendy, isn’t it funny? I am getting requests too and I just kind of stare at them and think: can I charge them $100 a pound? Because that’s about what these first batches are worth. Hah! And no, if you get the one-pot starters you’re probably guaranteeing your success 🙂

    Stefaneener, yeah, there’s something about staying on top of it all. And I don’t know why certain yogurts go sour; that’s happened to me too despite my regular use of the stuff. Great mystery.

    Everett, well, making your own mesophilic and thermophilic starters isn’t so hard. The rennet though is probably something you know you’ll always have to get…and then of course if you want to go all groovy and do hard cheeses other things are required. But yeah, I will let you know…should be a fun learning experience.

    Anna, if you have access to inexpensive milk then making your own is definitely the way to go, unless of course you are into eating really tricky cheese. Me, we’re starting out simply. Then I will step it up!

    Hi Taylor. The kefir is from grains that someone gave me and froze. I really like kefir but then again I am into more sour stuff as a general rule. And what I really like about it is it doesn’t require heating the milk so it’s a good, raw food. But yeah, mozzarella is fun, so is feta if you get a chance…and I too aim to make a yummy cheddah lateh on this yeayah.

  10. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry with your news on starters. I’ve tried a couple of different butter milk/ yogurt/ cheese starters with limited success. And my milk source ain’t so cheap. So hurry hurry, hurry!

    • I will keep you in mind! The plan, Elizabeth, is to make cheese once a week…and the rest of the volume goes to either yogurt or buttermilk or cooking. It’s working out so far (those two things) and on Friday or Sat. the next cheese session will happen…

      • Can’t wait to learn from your experience. Also, can you give hints on how to make your own vinegar? I understand it’s pretty easy but I have yet to try it.


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