Monday, September 12, 2011

Replying to comments etc.

Just a quickie to give replies to comments received since yesterday.
Thanks Les for both yours, and planning to half watch the Hospital prog on food on iPlayer whilst clearing up the room here ready to turn into a bedroom this morning.
Also for your conversions from NZ $ to English pounds.

Checked the prices of Mango chutney (at Tesco's) Polly, and they have three/four different varieties, the cheapest being a 'Cofresh' mango chutney at 89p for 340g (25p 100g). The other brands vary in sizes, and working on their price per 100g ( from 41p - 47p per 100g) all more expensive.

The conversion to pounds of the NZ $ has shown me that your large cauliflower Leerling would have cost us around £2.50 which is slightly dearer than our very large cauliflowers, but it always depends upon the store, some of the discounts sell their veggies cheaper than the large supermarkets.

Noticed your comment was sent via an earlier posting comment box minimiser deb. Not a problem for me for all new comments I receive directly into my email box, but readers would only be able to pick up the most recent when reading the last postings, unless referring back to another for some reason.
Have myself made hard cheese (from doorstep milk when it used to be delivered in Leeds), but as it takes a gallon (8 pints) of milk to make 1 lb cheese, and weeks before it is ready to eat, after the one attempt didn't feel it was worth the trouble, especially as it was cheaper to buy cheese anyway.

Normally cheese would be made with milk fresh from the cow, so not even sure whether it would be possible to make hard cheese from the homogenised milk on sale today. Channel Island milk would need the cream siphoning off before the milk is use, and anyway is too expensive a milk.
The Cheddar-type (1) is probably the simplest of cheeses to make. Rennet should not be confused with rennet essence - which is weaker and normally sold for making junket. It is essential that rennet should be stored under cool and dark conditions, and not used stale.
Having said that, I have used the rennet essence (doubling the amount stated) and was able to press the drained curds firmly enough to turn them into a 'hard' cheese (following the Cheddar (1) recipe). Didn't taste like Cheddar, had huge holes in it (like a Swiss cheese), but edible and as it was made from doorstep milk - still of the type where the cream rose to the top of the bottle.

The most important factors in ripening cheeses are the temperature and humidity, plus the importance of gentle handling of the initial curds. If roughly handled during cutting and stirring, excessive loss of fat will take place, reducing the yield and quality of the cheese.
For general purposes, store the cheese at a temperature of 55F - 60F. Above that ripening will be accelerated, and too high will lead to excessive moisture being evaporated end up with a very dry cheese. There are no disadvantages of storing at a lower temperature, apart from the cheese taking far longer to ripen.
A high degree of humidity encourages mould, a low humidity leads to cracking of the rind and excessive loss of weight. Some varieties of pressed cheeses are best ripened in a humidity of around 85%.
Shelving in the ripening and storage room must be kept dry and clean, and it is necessary to turn cheese during the early stages of ripening to prevent softening of the ends.

However, if anyone feels inclined to have a go, here are basic ways to make a few different types of cheese.
farmhouse gorgonzola:
warm 6 gallons of milk to blood heat; add a tablespoon of rennet and stir well. Cover and leave to set for 15 or so minutes then break up the curds with (clean) hands. Leave to settle then pour off the whey.
Mix 2 tblsp dairy salt and 1 tblsp oatmeal with the curd. Line a press with muslin and press in the curd,altering positions of press as cheese sinks. Leave in press for 3 days. Remove from muslin and place on wooden board. Keep for 2 months to ripen, turning occasionally.

wensleydale cheese:
heat the milk to 90F. Add 2 teaspoons of rennet to 9 gallons of milk. Pour into curd trays and when it sets break it up with a cheese-breaker or palette knife, then let it stand for 30 minutes. Remove the whey they place the curds in a muslin cloth, tie up and leave to drip for one hour. Crumble the drained cheese into a mould with the hands (not too finely) and leave to stand for 12 hours. Return the cheese to a clean cheese-cloth (muslin), return to mould, weight and press. Next day turn the cheese in the mould and press again. At night, take the cheese from the mould and put into brine (to make brine bring enough water - to cover the cheese - to the boil, and add salt until the liquid will float a (fresh) egg. When the brine is cold add the cheese.
An 8lb cheese should be left in the brine for 3 days and turned night and morning. When taken out of the brine, put on the storing shelf and turn every day until dry.

cheddar-type cheese (1):
for a cheese of 2.5 lbs take 3 gallons of hand-skimmed milk from three consecutive milkings (i.e. 1 gallon from each). Warm to 80F and add half tsp plus 3 drops of rennet per gallon, stirring well into the milk.
When set, cut curds into large dice with a long-bladed knife. Warm it again slowly until the whey rises well, then gently bale off the whey - this can be done with a cup. Add 1 tblsp coarse salt to the curd and with a skimmer or shallow scoop put into the top of a steamer (the one with the holes) that has been lined with muslin. On top of this place a cake tin pierced with holes (a size to fit in the steamer) and set a heavy flat-iron in the centre of the cake tin, or another suitable weight wrapped in kitchen paper or clean cloth. Leave overnight for the whey to drain away.
Next morning remove cheese from steamer, wrap in a clean cloth and place between two boards with the weight on top. Drying it with a rough cloth, rub the cheese with salt and then once more rub with a cloth to dry. After the fourth day, bind the cheese tightly round with a strip of calico or bandage to prevent it becoming too flat under the weight. Leave bandage on until the cheese has matured.

cheddar-type (2):
heat milk to 90F. Add 1 teaspoon rennet (diluted with 3 times its own amount with warm water) to 3 gallons of milk. Deep stir for 2 minutes, then top stir until set - to keep the cream from rising. Leave for 1 hour, then cut with a carving knife into small quarter to half-inch cubes. Stir gently for one hour, gradually raising the temperature to 106F - this is done by removing some of the whey, heating this to 120F, then returning it to the curd. Repeat this 3 or 4 times until the required temp. of 106F is reached, then gently pour off the whey, crumble up the curd and add 1 oz salt to every 2 gallons of milk. Put into a coarse cloth in the mould with a 1 cwt (1 hundredweight) pressure. In the evening turn into a piece of muslin and put back into the mould and press again. Next day, remove cheese and grease it. Bandage and put in a room to ripen. Turn daily until ready for use. It can be eaten at 3 - 4 weeks old.

As expected, it is now very windy and the forecast is not good for the time of my daughter and S.I.L's trip here, so almost certainly there will be a delay. However, if I do what has to be done today, then might be able to find time to write up this weeks trade secrets tomorrow (if we ever get the mag - the newsagent says 'it has been delayed'). Just suggest you log on to this site once or twice this week to see if I've had time to write. If not, should be back next Saturday 0r possibly Sunday/Monday. Am in the lap of the weather gods here, so expect me back when you see me is all I can say. Hope you miss me, as I will surely be missing you.