Cheese, Please

I've been dying to make cheese for a while now. Not just lemon juice ricotta (which is still pretty awesome), but cultured cheese too. Around Christmastime, I bought a kit with cheese cultures and a ton of recipes. Last week I decided to try it out.

It starts with warming up some milk, adding calcium chloride, and cultures. Ok so far.

Then you let it sit for a while. After that, you add some rennet, and let it sit again. It sets up, almost like a loose jello. Then you slice it, heat it gently, and it starts to look like this:

Wild, right? Then you scoop it all into a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Once most of the liquid whey has drained out, you hang it. Not as simple as it might sound. I didn't have anything to hang it from, so I rigged up this contraption with a pot and some chopsticks:

Then you press the cheese for about 24 hours, turning it a couple of times. Who said you could only use weights in the gym? (Don't worry, it's clean, and not touching the cheese)

Finally, after about a day and a half, I got to unwrap the cheese. It looks like this:

A little lumpy and misshapen, for sure. Now it sits for 3-5 days in the open air, before I wax it and let it cure for two whole months. I'm feeling totally impatient, but also super-excited that soon I'll have my very own made-at-home cheese!

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