Well, my first cheesemaking experiment with home-grown milk was successful.
I started simple. At my first tasting of it (a chevre, which is a fresh “farmhouse” style cheese) I was so very surprised how normal it tasted. Hey, this tastes like goat cheese! I guess I can say I was surprised at my reaction, as, well, it was a goat I got the milk from and everything. But home gardeners know well this shift in expectation that I was anticipating: the homegrown is so much different than the stuff you buy at the store, shipped from who knows where. Vive la difference! I anticipated this cheese to taste wildly different, too.
Granted, my benchmark wasn’t the carageenan-thickened grocery store gunk but a local cheese purveyor’s chevre: her stuff is awesome. When the timing is right, she tops her cheese with fennel pollen and some lavender buds, ya-yum.
But of course the engineer in me wants to fiddle with the process. Okay, cheesemakers out there: let’s come up with edible cheesecloth. My goodness how much of that good cheese gets stuck to the cloth! I used butter muslin and then a synthetic muslin on the ricotta, both stuck after dripping dry for nearly 24 hours. Sigh. Any takers?