Home-made cumin cheese
It is vital that you don't exceed any of the stated temperatures or your cheese will fail.
- 3.4 litres (6 pints) full-cream milk
- ¼ teaspoon freeze dried DVI starter
- * I used a generic Ascott starter.
- 8 drops rennet
- 1.25 tablespoon sea salt (Noirmoutier sea salt "Hot Spices" [curry, cumin, chillies, mint])
- 1.5 teaspoons of dry-roasted cumin seeds.
- Sterilise all equipment
- Warm the milk to 32° C (90° F)
- Mix ¼ teaspoons of freeze dried DVI starter with 4 tablespoons of lukewarm water.
- Whisk into the milk and stir really well so it is properly mixed.
- Cover and leave for 1 hour.
- Mix 8 drops of rennet with 4 tablespoons lukewarm water and whisk into the milk. Stir really well so it is properly mixed.
- Leave for 2 hours for the milk to solidify.
- Cut the curds with a long knife into 5 mm (1/4") cubes.
- Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- In a double boiler, heat the outer water to 39° C (102° F), using extra heat to keep this temperature stable, and stir the curds regularly until they reach 39° C (102° F). Stir regularly and don't overheat or the curds will melt together and you'll end up with mozzarella cheese!
- Once the curd temperature is stable at 39° C (102° F), cook the curds for another 45 minutes. As before, stabilise by using a little extra heat - you won't need much. Stir regularly to prevent the curds knitting together. A spring-type whisk (pictured) works well for this.
- Drain the curds in a cheesecloth lined colander.
- Add them back to the double boiler, add the sea salt and cumin seeds and stir well with a whisk to break up the curds and cook for another 45 minutes at 39° C (102° F).
- Hang the curds in a cheesecloth for 1 hour to drain.
- Place the curds in a cheesecloth lined cheese mould and press at 9kg (20 lbs) for 45 minutes.
- Take the cheese out of the cheese mould and turn it round.
- Press it again at 22 kg (50 lb) for 24 hours.
- Remove from the cheese press and dry for 5 days at room temperature.
- Wrap in a sterilised cheesecloth, seal the Cheddar with a flour and water paste and mature for 3 to 24 months
- Unless you have a cave handy, the fridge is probably the best place to mature your homemade cheese although it's really going to be too cold. After discovering the top shelf of my often-opened fridge could be as much as 5° C warmer than the bottom, I've decided to mature my cheeses there. As all fridges differ, check various areas of your fridge with a thermometer to find the area that is around 11°C [51° F], the ideal 'cave' temperature.
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