Cheese Making – Ricotta Cheese

Today I planned to make my own little Camembert Cheeses, as you’ll read below, this didn’t quite happen according to plan. As a result, I have made both Ricotta Cheese & Quark – which is similar to cream cheese.

The moment of truth has arrived. I am attempting to make my own little Camembert’s today. I have been to the cheesemaking workshop. I have purchased my equipment and my ingredients. I made my cheese starter culture two days previous as instructed, and I am now ready to get started.

Cheese Making

 

As I get myself set up, I put the milk on to heat. I am using 4 litres of milk which I expect will make about 4 to 5 little Camembert. I have the thermometer in the milk and I am watching as it heats to the required 32 degrees. As I am watching I am feeling a little apprehensive. Something is not looking quite right with my milk…

I go over the procedures of the workshop in my mind and as the milk hits 32 degrees I dismiss my concerns. I review the recipe and pour the warmed milk into the 10-litre container, ready to add the starter culture. I have made one litre of the starter culture but I will only be using 100mls for the recipe.  The remainder will be made into Quark which tastes the same as cream cheese. This would need to be made today too.

Just as I am about to pour the starter culture into the milk I notice that my milk doesn’t have the lovely globules of fat on the top, like the workshop milk did. I was about to dismiss this as just the difference between brands when it hit me. I suddenly knew what mistake I had made. I was using UHT milk. Whilst UHT is fine for the starter, it will not make Camembert.

Damn it, what do I do now?? I checked the recipe. Sure enough, I am supposed to use unhomogenised milk, which I obviously don’t have. What am I going to do with 4 litres of warmed milk??  Thankfully I hadn’t added anything to the milk.

I decided I would make Ricotta out of the 4 litres of milk and resume Camembert making after going to the shops for the appropriate milk.

I checked my recipe for Ricotta and found it can be made with the UHT milk. I put the 4 litres of milk back in the pot and brought the temperature up to 90 degrees. I added vinegar to curdle the milk and let the curds to form a raft on the whey.

Cheese Making-2

In the meantime, I lined a strainer with a clean chux cloth ready to drain. After ½ an hour I poured the mixture into the strainer and left it over a bowl to drain for another ½ an hour. When I returned to the Ricotta I was rewarded with about 2 kilos of ricotta cheese. Not bad for my milk investment of $4.20 and minimal time and effort. Although sadly, it was not Camembert, and I felt no further along in my quest for a homemade Camembert.

Ricotta Cheese

I am now on the lookout for a Ricotta Cheesecake recipe.  I love “The Cheesecake Shop’s” Ricotta cheesecake with sultanas and I would die for the recipe. If anyone has one that is a duplicate please email me.

I turned my attention back to the cheese starter culture and making the Quark. I measured 100mls of the culture for the Camembert into a jug and returned it to the fridge, ready for my second attempt. The remainder of the starter culture was strained through a new chux cloth as I had done the Ricotta.  I suspended the chux over a container and placed the suspension in the fridge.  The quark will stay like that in the fridge for the next 24 to 48 hours to complete the process.

Below is the finished product.

Cheese Making-4

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