I recieved my cheese press in the mail yesterday and I was a good girl and didn't abandon all the things that I already had planned for yesterday and delve into the long process of hard cheese making. :) I did take it apart and play with it. But I had committed myself to making Cato's "outdoor banner," cutting out the girls' Viking aprons for Crown List next weekend and finishing up the event tokens for said Crown List. Today I let myself make cheese while sewing. I decided on a stirred curd cheddar, although Sunday I may attempt the Farmhouse cheddar in preparation for a "real" Cheddar. I want to run to Shady Lady tomorrow and pick up some cheese coloring as I want there to be some sort of visible difference in some of my cheeses.
This wasn't as difficult as I had feared it would be, but I'm still having difficulty keeping the temperature consistant even with a hot water bath. I did better today than I did last week wit the Montery Jack, which may not be really Montery Jack when it is all done. It will be cheese of some unknown variety. Today's may not be a real cheddar either because it did get a little cooler than 100°F after each 30 minute cycle. It's currently pressing for 2 hours at around 40 pounds. After this I'll have to go in and flip it, redress it and press it for the next 24 hours for 50 pounds.
Meanwhile, I did manage to get the girls' Viking aprons sewn and I just need to hem a pair of pants for Keon and whip up a simple hat to go with his new cote. I also have a cup of whey leftover from making ricotta from the leftover whey from making the cheddar that I want to make a loaf of bread with. The ricotta is cooling in the fridge and I'm hoping to make a lasagna with it this weekend. The hardest part of this whole cheese making process is the waiting 2-6 (or 12) months for the cheese to age. It sits there tempting me, but I know if I try to eat it now it won't be at all as tasty as if I wait til later this summer. Of course my goal is to make enough cheese for Meridian 30 Year Celebration in August. It's got to be done now, though. Of course I'm also planning on making fresh mozzerella at the event, so I don't have to make as much as I think I might. I'm thinking a total of 8lbs of cheese for nibbling. Maybe 10. I'll see what I get done over the next few weeks. I'm on the lookout for a dorm sized fridge to keep my cheese in because I don't have a cellar to store it in and despite the fact that we keep our house around 72°F it still isn't cool enough for proper aging.
OK, off to finish that "to do list" for today!