Yesterday at the fortress of survival (or my UrbansurvivalSecrets.com bunker as my neighbors call it), I worked on my cheese making skills. With my wifes questioning eye on me, the watched as I doped the milk, let the cultures do their magic, then coagulate and transform into a pot of milk colored jello on the stove top. I think she had thoughts of Young Frankenstein running though her head with me running around like Gene Wilder yelling – “it’s alive!”
The biggest pain in the ass was to find the rennet. I checked the local health food store, wal-mart and then Kroeger/Fry’s/Smith’s/Ralley’s… and found it at the last spot in the jello section.
After making mozzarella three times, I got used to just doping the milk with the rennet at prescribed levels and coagulating – however no one told me about the need to mix the damn rennet in for 1 minutes instead of dump it in and stir briefly. The resultant curds are so much better. Also from my experimenting, I found that using calcium chloride in the store bought milk does help as well.
I made mozzarella because it is a make and eat cheese with immediate results – a good one for practicing on! Yesterday, I decided on making a Farmers Caerphilly cheese. Aging two weeks, it is a pretty easy cheese to make and store. The goal of course is to get milk into a stable state for storage purposes and provide high nutrition when SHTF day comes. You see, I have a neighbor who owns a dairy around the corner. I have worked out a plan with him so all will be good.
In cheese making, you use a culture after warming up the milk to room temperature. In my case, I used a double boiler set up to stabilize the temp around 80 degrees. I have some cultured buttermilk which I added (1 oz per gallon milk.) To culture your buttermilk, get some fresh stuff, crack the lid and leave it on the counter over night – It should be really thick then. After culturing the milk for 1 hour, I added the rennet (1/4 teaspoon of vegetable rennet/gallon) stirred and let it sit for about 90 minutes. I cut the curd, stirred and let it sit for another hour, stirring at the beginning for about 5 minutes. The curds were cut into 1/2 inch cubes. I then drained the whey (fed it to the dogs who loved it) three times and added 4 grams of salt to help de-whey the curds further. Then I put the curds into a cheesecloth lined plastic bowl that I drilled holes into. I took the lid and cut it down to fit inside the bowl. I then pressed the cheese for several hours (1 movie) to get my hockey puck.
The Hockey puck was soaked in a brine solution (20% salt in water) for 12 hours – be sure to flip several times.) I let it dry and have stored it in my warm fridge – set at 50 F. So now we will see the results soon.
I have developed a cheese cooker using normal stuff around the house and a harbor freight mini submersible pump ($12). This rig is used to ensure the best quality temp control out there at a pretty reasonable price. I will be testing the rig soon as I have a few other projects to deal with.
Remember – September in the US is preparedness month.