One of the homey skills I’ve always wanted to learn is how to make cheese. I may have too much of an affinity for cheese (never mind cake), but this desire has been as deeply rooted as it has been unsuccessful. Sure, I only tried to make cheese once, or twice if you count my attempt to fix said failure. In those attempts, I never made anything close to resembling cheese. Instead, I made a somewhat goopy milk and cream mixture. The unsuccessful cheese has lingered away in the back of my mind as something to be overcome… at some point in the future. Well, the future has arrived, my friends! And it’s a cheesy as I am!
While I was wandering around the library as my kiddos picked out books and movies to check out, I inadvertently stumbled upon the cheese section. I looked at several titles with trepidation. Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking? No way! Too intense! The Art of Natural Cheesemaking? Starting with art seemed like setting a rather high bar for myself. Homemade Cheese? Maybe. Then I saw the title: One-Hour Cheese. YES! Now, that’s a title I could get behind for trying to overcome my first spectacular failure at cheesemaking.
The kiddos gave me nonplussed looks when I showed them my library finds (another book on farming, really? Cheese? Okay, you do you, I guess, if you have to). I started reading the cheese book later that evening, but then the author told me emphatically to stop reading and go make cheese. On page 4. Umm, what? Can’t I read more? (No, she said, don’t read ahead! Go make cheese!)
So, I set the book aside instead. I felt weird reading ahead when the author was so unequivocal in her instructions to stop reading and instead to make cheese. I told myself that the timing wasn’t convenient to make cheese and that I should get more milk from the store, and the timing mostly wasn’t just as the milk mostly wasn’t a delay tactic. Mostly.
Then I had the milk, the time, no excuses, and a desire to tackle this recipe so easy that it appeared on page four of my one-hour cheese cookbook with the stern instruction to not even read ahead to the first chapter. And I did. And it worked. Foolproof results, indeed. The cheese is called First-Timer’s Cheese in 5 Steps, and is technically called directly acidified farmer-style cheese. I imagine I’ll know more of what that means when I’ve read more of her book. I used my lemon-cilantro herb salt from my food-in-jars challenge, and the flavor was a nice addition to the cheese.
Regardless of what the cheese is called, it tasted delicious, and I had successfully made it! Old failures have been overwritten, and I have more confidence to attempt the other recipes in the book, which she rates as easy, easier, and easiest. For each cheese recipe, she has step-by-step pictures for making the cheese and an accompanying recipe for using the cheese. The cheeses all sound scrumptious, and I can’t wait to tackle them. It’s hard to decide which cheese I’ll make first. Curried paneer? Meyer Lemon Ricotta? Chipotle-Lime Oaxaca? These all sound artisan enough for me, and all supposedly require an hour of my time. Deal.
I’m sure I can still flob a cheese recipe, but the author already seems so encouraging and supportive. She includes pep talks and troubleshooting basics in her book, and I’m sure I’ll have to utilize them. Still, I can’t wait to make my next cheese this weekend!