any cheesemakers out there? I have some Q's please...

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by patandchickens, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I just know there are BYCers out there who have cheesemaking experience, and was hoping you might have a moment to answer a few beginnery questions:

    1) I've tried making ricotta salata (from whole-milk ricotta) about half a dozen times. I have never managed to get it to last more than 2-3 wks ageing-wise, partly b/c we keep eating it (even my cheese-hating husband likes it!) but also b/c I cannot figure out how to store it any longer in the fridge without it getting either dried out or bacteria-slimey. It's a frost-free fridge. What am I supposed to cover or wrap the cheese with to keep it 'good'?

    2) the current ricotta salata I tried covering 'loosely' (obviously not loosely enough) with plastic wrap and it has gotten sour and slimey on the outside. Is it possible to cure this problem enough to make it edible (maybe cut away outside and re-salt?) or should I just pitch the thing? I hate throwing away food but I also hate food poisoning [​IMG]

    3) I want to try making an actual hard cheese. But do not have a storeboughten cheese mold at present (will probably order one but not get it til sometime in May). Can I use something homemade, and if so, what size for 1 gallon of milk and do I need to make holes in the sides or just lop off the top and bottom?

    4) is there a cheesemaking forum somewhere?

    Thanks very much for any info or suggestions,

    Pat
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Pat,
    Funny that you should post. We are leaving in a few minutes to pick up the first quart of goat's milk for my wife to start making cheese. She is a raw rookie, so no real experience to help you.

    I am not aware of any forum, but I made molds for her by taking 16 ounce heavy plastic cups from Walmart, heating a nail in a propane torch, and melting holes in the cups. Melt the holes from the outside as you will pull some melted plastic with you, forming little peaks that might hold the cheese in the mold if you try to melt from the inside.

    I don't know how many you need for a quart of milk, but I made 4. Should be twice as many as she needs.

    She got her supplies from www.cheeesemaking.com. A pamphlet that came with her order had info on the molds. That's where I got an idea of how many holes to make.

    She got a lot of information on the fiasco farm(s)? site concerning goat cheese.

    I don't know if this helps. Good luck.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I spoke to the lady we got the goat milk from. She said that Ricotta is a natural food with no preservatives. It will go bad in the fridge in two weeks. However, it freezes real well.
     
  4. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    I don't think that type of cheese is meant for long storage--it's one of the "fresh" cheeses, which needs to be consumed shortly after being made. You might try vacuum-sealing, and see how that extends its freshness. Otherwise, I freeze just about every kind of cheese if I'm not gonna use it right away. You could break it up into serving sizes, and freeze those individually.

    I am getting ready to try hard cheeses for the first time, too! That's the whole reason I got interested in cheesemaking to begin with, but mozzarella and chevre and such were just so easy and yummy, I got sidetracked! Anyway, I don't think you'd have any problem coming up with homemade molds. All you really need is a mold that drains, and a press. There are tons of examples on the internet of molds and presses that people made out of existing materials, and I've seen the presses weighted with bricks or just about anything.

    Do you already have Ricki Carroll's book? Kinda short on detail, but lots of recipes and easy to follow instructions.
     
  5. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Overrun With Chickens

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    Ricotta salata, yum. I've never attempted making it, but read about it. It's the drier, aged version of ricotta, right? you have to go heavy on the salt cover, I know that. I think you'd do better covering it with cheesecloth so it can "breathe" somewhat instead of plastic wrap.
    I wouldn't trust any that went slimy, sorry. Better safe than battling food poisoning.

    Here's a link with some info that may help you out:

    http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/217-Ricotta.html
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:No, this is ricotta salata, you press and heavily *salt* the ricotta, and every single recipe I've seen says to age for AT LEAST 3 wks, up to a few months.

    There are tons of examples on the internet of molds and presses that people made out of existing materials, and I've seen the presses weighted with bricks or just about anything.

    I know, but I have yet to see one with dimensions (except for a page that claims '20 oz can' which is clearly incorrect as I don't think I could even FIT the cheese from 1 gal of milk in there).

    I have Ricki Carroll's book, have also had a good one out of the library (I forget the author), but there seems to be sort of a conspiracy to omit crucial details like the questions I'm asking [​IMG]

    Pat​
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Oh, that's a good idea, I will try that on my next batch! Thank you! [​IMG]

    I wouldn't trust any that went slimy, sorry. Better safe than battling food poisoning.

    Yeah, that's unfortunately sort of what I'm htinking too. I think maybe I'll cut the outside (generously) off, see if it still smells sour inside, salt the bejeebers out of it if it doesn't but if it does then take it out to the compost pile, waah [​IMG]

    Thanks very much,

    Pat​
     
  8. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Quote:Yep, short on details.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009

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