Second Attempt – Neufchatel

Found recipe on David Fankhauser’s beginning cheesemaking (etc) site (http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML).  For my supplies, all I really used was milk, rennet and buttermilk.  As I understand it, buttermilk is a DL-Culture and optimum growth temperatures are typically 20-30C.    Applications include most hard and semi-hard yellow cheese types, butter making, sour cream,  and buttermilk. I Decided to follow David’s tiered ‘program’ and made Neufchatel.  You have to appreciate his minimalist approach to learning about and making quality cheese at home.  For this recipe this is what I did:

  • Whole milk (1/2 gallon) of ‘Clover’ milk
  • About 1/8 cup buttermilk cultured for starter
  • 1/4 tablet rennet

*Long side-note and interesting history on rennet:

HISTORY OF RENNET: Presumably, the first cheese was produced by accident when the ancients stored milk in a bag made from the stomach of a young goat, sheep or cow.  They found that the day-old milk would curdle in the bag (stomach), yielding solid chunks (curds) and liquid (whey).  Once they discovered that the curd-chunks could be separated out and dried, they had discovered a means by which milk, an extremely perishable food, could be preserved for later use. The addition of salt was found to preserve these dried curds for long periods of time.  At some point, someone discovered that the most active portion of the young animal’s stomach to cause curdling was the abomasum, the last of the four chambers of the stomach of a ruminant animal.  (In sequence, the four chambers are rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.)  In particular, the abomasum from a suckling kid or calf was especially active.  The abomasum was cut it into strips, salted and dried.  A small piece would be added to milk in order to turn it into curds and whey.

…continued

  • Heated milk/buttermilk to around 60-65° and added water/rennet solution in a large pot.  For the rennet solution, I took one cup of cold water and mixed in around 1/4 rennet tablet.
  • I left this overnight and was able to get a clean break!
  • I cut this the next morning in 1-2 inch blocks with a sharp knife.
  • After cutting, I drained/scooped out the curds with a slotted spoon and put them in a cheese cloth over a colander.
  • A few minutes later I gathered the ends of the cloth and rigged it up through a chopstick and hung to drain
  • After around 14 hours I molded in a tupperware, added some salt and it was ready!

Tasted great with crackers, especially triscuits!/.  Had a tasted similar to cream cheese only fresher and it certainly tasted better.  Not too bad after my second attempt ever!

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