The City Girl Farmer

February 18, 2011, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Cows | Tags: , ,

I have made soft, easy cheeses with success but for some reason I found hard cheeses more intimidating.  Reading a cheese recipe is like reading a recipe for soap or beer or wine.  It dawns on you that some really complex chemical interactions (magic for an unscientific person like me) are required for your cheese (beer or wine) to come out right.  You have to pay attention to things like acidity! *shudders as science angst grips her stomach*

I decided that I had to face the giant and all that I really had to lose was a couple of gallons of milk, some rennet and some culture (pun intended).  It had been a long time since we had chicken enchiladas and I decided to make some queso fresco for them instead of buying the cheese at the store.

A conventional cheese press and an improvised cheese press

After completing the first magic step of turning milk into queso fresco-flavored curds, it was time to press the cheese.  I used to think that pressing cheese was necessary just to turn it into that nice cylindrical shape that made it easier to store.  I learned that it, too, is another magical process.  Cheese needs to be pressed so that it chemically “knits” together.  Who knew?  I had too many curds for my press capacity, so thanks to my neighbors at Victory Ranch, I was able to improvise a press with a mold, a souffle dish and some heavy books.  I recommend the standard press.

Finished queso fresco

I discovered you don’t really need to understand how everything works in order to make cheese.  Just follow the instructions of a good recipe and all the chemistry will take care of itself.

How did it taste?  Like queso fresco, only as with all the other things that are home grown, it was somehow richer.  Like the difference between home-made brownies and brownies out of the box.  Raw milk aficionados will understand what I’m talking about.

This, my friends, is why a person would keep a dairy cow.

3 Comments so far
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Niiiiice! Can I taste a tiny bit on Sunday? Please? I’ll buy a (tiny) share of cow to make it legal (say, $1?) How long did the process take, from raw milk to queso fresco?

Comment by teatimekitty

I’m impressed. Where did you get the recipe and ingredients?

Comment by Ondrew

Hi Canada Cheeseman! For some reason I missed the notification on your comment. Sorry for the late reply! The recipe I used is from a book called “Home Cheese Making” by Ricki Carroll(the cheese queen). I get cultures and supplies from Our Jersey cow, Tiddles, provides us with delicious, fresh, creamy milk from which to make a variety of cultured dairy products. She is due to calve in the next few days which should mean a plentiful new supply.

My next project is to attempt Reblochon, which is my favorite cheese (so far). I am not quite the connoisseur you are!

Comment by citygirlfarmer

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