|Brie – before it gets yummy|
“Oh, I’ll just have a little bit more of that”.
Cheese, it’s a common weakness. Place a cheese platter on the table at a social gathering and it’s not long before the crowd has gathered around the offering. Good cheese is impossible to resist.
Even though cheese is one of my favourite foods I’ve never considered making it myself until recently. It just seemed too hard, too complicated. Surely, I thought, if fancy cheeses such as brie could be made at home everyone would be doing it. But after completing a cheese-making course at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre I’ve discovered that making cheese is a matter of precise measurements and a lot of waiting. I can use measuring implements. The waiting I’m not so good at.
At the course we made a triple cream brie and quark, a type of fresh cheese which is similar to cream cheese or sour cream.
The quark was incredibly easy to make, much easier that say baking a cake. All it took was adding a culture to a carton of UHT milk and leaving this out of the fridge for a day or two allowing the curds and whey to form in the carton. Once the milk has separated it is then strained through cloth or chux in the fridge over night with a weight placed on it. I’m already eating my quark on toast in the mornings with some chives and salt added for flavour. I’m going to have to be patient and wait a lot longer to try my brie.
|Cutting the curd|
The tools used to make the brie were mostly standard kitchen equipment that you would already own such as a large plastic container, measuring jugs, glass jars that can be sterilised in hot water, a slotted spoon, a flat bladed knife, a thermometer and an esky to keep the mixtures warm. The only specialised equipment that was needed were ‘hoops’, plastic containers with holes to allow the whey to run out.
The most important things to keep in mind when making cheese is to ensure everything that touches the mixtures has been sterilised and that your measurements are correct. Other than that making cheese involves a lot of waiting. Waiting for the milk to warm to the correct temperature, waiting for the curds to set, waiting for the curds to set again after they have been cut. I had a little taste of the mixture when it was still in its curds and whey form because I can’t wait for anything. At this stage it just tasted like cream. It will develop its complexities over the next few weeks of aging.
|Gently mixing the curd|
Now I need to wait for the mould to grow on my cheese. It will spend the next two weeks in the cupboard, being turned every 2 days. Then I have to wrap it up and age it even longer in the fridge. I’ll admit it does take a little bit more effort that a trip to the local deli but I can hardly wait to taste my home made cheese.
|‘Hooping’ the curd|
|My brie soaking in brine|