Okay, so the curds have been hanging for about 5 1/2 hours, and I’ve moved on to the next steps in trying to recreate my mom’s cheese.
Now, my Mom had said to just set it aside for a few hours, or overnight, so hanging it may have changed things a bit. I don’t know. But this is what it looks like after hanging for most of the day.
Also, it’s a good thing I covered the whole set up with another cheesecloth, because the cats REALLY wanted to get at this!
The next instructions are:
Put solids into large pot.
Add about 1 tsp baking soda and mix thoroughly.
Will rise like bread.
Looking at how little there is in here, I’m starting to think that my original notes, saying about 5 gallons of milk, was accurate. There is not a lot in here, and when I saw my mother’s cheese, it filled an ice cream bucket, so there’s no way it was only 1 gallon.
Which means I’ve been using the quantities for vinegar and baking soda for 5 gallons, not 1 gallon. Yet, 1 tsp of vinegar to sour 5 gallons seems like way too little. Mind you, she would have been making this in the summer, and the milk probably would have soured quickly, with no vinegar at all. Knowing she was pretty loosey-goosey on the quantities to begin with, it’s really hard to know. Considering how long it took to sour using 1 tsp of vinegar to 1 gallon of milk, I suspect it’s actually the correct amount, and that I would have needed more, if I were using more milk.
This is after very thoroughly mixing in the baking soda. Yes, I used 1 tsp for this amount.
The curds feel like a cross between cream cheese and cottage cheese. I spent quite a bit of time mixing it, because I wanted that baking soda to be worked in as much as possible.
My mom said to leave it overnight, which means she would have just left it on a counter, but I have put the covered pot into a warm oven, because of how chilly that part of the house gets.
She commented that it will “rise like bread.” That makes sense, since we should be seeing a chemical reaction between the acidic milk soured with vinegar, and the alkaline baking soda. It’s something I’m used to when working with sourdough, but with cheese? I did get the sense that the curds were starting to feel “fluffier” by the time I finished stirring in the soda, but that could be just my imagination because I am expecting something like that.
I did taste the curds before and after adding the soda. As I mentioned before, it has very little flavour right now, but I did feel that the baking soda … softened… the flavour, if that makes sense.
After it has sat for the night, salt, colours and herbs and spices can be added. For this first attempt, I will be adding some salt, but that’s it. If we make it again, we’ll experiment with adding herbs and spices or whatever.
I am incredibly curious to see what it looks like by morning!