Did I say that I was going to write about my experience using the Hobby Hill Farm cheese making kit on Tuesday? It appears that I actually meant Thursday. Oops!
Step one with any new food endeavor is to read the instructions carefully and make sure you have all ingredients and gear. The kit comes with every necessary ingredient except for the milk. As far as gear goes, you need a big pot, a slotted spoon, a microwave-safe bowl, and a thermometer to track the temperature of the milk.
While the milk heats, you dissolve citric acid in water and a bit of rennet in another small portion of water.
The acidic water joins the milk when it is 55 degrees F.
Then you gently stir as it heats to 90 degrees F.
Once the milk reaches 90 degrees F, you pull the pot off the heat.
Add the dilute rennet and stir using an up and down motion.
Then you cover the pot and let the curds coagulate for a bit.
Using a knife that goes all the way to the bottom of the pot, you cut the curds. Looking at this picture, I realize that my curds might have needed to stir for another minute or two.
Once the curds are cut, you return the pot to the heat and warm the contents until they reach 105 degrees F.
Remove the pot from the heat again and stir.
Use that slotted spoon and strain the curds out into the microwave safe bowl.
Pour off any gathered whey and microwave.
Knead and microwave.
Knead and microwave again.
I divided my cheese into two segments and formed them into balls.
Then I put them in cold water to set.
All told, it was a really fun project that has delicious results. I’m still no expert at this point and I know that my cheese is a little firmer than desired, but the kit has enough for many more batches, so I’ll certainly be trying again! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win your own cheese making kit.
Disclosure: Hobby Hill Farm is a Food in Jars sponsor. They provided the kit you see here, as well as the one up for giveaway (along with a sack of the most delicious pretzels ever).