I was given The Big Cheese Making Kit for Christmas and I was very surprised to find out just how much cheese you can get from this kit.
Everything is provided for you except the dairy (i.e. milk or cream) and you can make 10 different types of cheeses including mozzarella and halloumi.
When making the cheese, the set up is easy, just make sure you have everything in place before you start. Depending on the cheese you will need either a 3 litre pan or a 5 litre pan.
The instructions are very clear and concise. You need to follow these exactly to get your results. This is something I still need to practise as my attempts didn’t work out very well. I don’t think I stirred as gently as I should have.
I started with the mozzarella and it began well. Adding citric acid to your pan of milk and then bringing it to temperature (90F) then add the rennet and leave for 20 minutes. After this I got the curds I wanted but in the next stage I think the curds got too small.
After this you are to remove the curds from the pan and drain off the whey. Then microwave a few times whilst kneading the cheese in between. I think I drained too much whey off before microwaving as my cheese didn’t seem that stretchy.
I did end the process by putting my cheese balls into cold water to help them keep their shape. I also tasted the cheese before and after it was cool and it did taste like cheese just very plain. I didn’t add any extras as I wanted to see how it would come out, as is.
I will be keeping a couple balls in the fridge for upcoming pizzas and freezing the rest.
Overall, it was fairly easy to make and even though you need quite a bit of milk, price wise it is worth it. The milk I used cost £2.18 and I got 600g of mozzarella. Generally you would pay about £2 for 200g of mozzarella so this is a good deal.
The recipe booklet offers two options for goat’s cheese. One is soft & creamy and the other is firm & crumbly. I decided to try the soft & creamy option and it failed.
The process began the same as the mozzarella, with the milk in the pan, adding citric acid, taking the milk to a higher temperature of 180F, then leaving off the heat for 30 minutes.
At this stage I thought the curds and whey had separated and I poured it into a colander covered with muslin cloth. The whey drained a bit but I wasn’t sure how long I should leave it. It said in the booklet to leave to rest for 30 minutes/hour tied up in the muslin bag or transfer to the cheese mould. The transfer to the mould was a failure and all the very wet curds and whey went all over my sink and down the drain. I think just a couple teaspoons worth were saved.
This tiny bit remaining was put in the fridge to chill as I wanted to try something. The taste was nice, quite a bit like Philadelphia cream-cheese. I had it on a bagel and it was good.
If this had worked out it would have been worth it. I spent £4.95 for the goat’s milk and you are meant to get around 680g of goat cheese. Goat cheese is generally £1.80 for 125g so again this is a good deal if you love goat’s cheese.
If you are worried about the amount of cheese and not being able to use it all up, you can also freeze goat cheese as long as it is wrapped well.
Even though my cheeses didn’t work out as well as I wanted I was happy to see that making cheese at home is much simpler than I thought it would be. Also the cost of the dairy you buy is worthwhile compared to the amount of cheese you get.
I would say this is a good gift for a cheese lover but maybe give it to someone who also loves to cook and making their own things from scratch. If you just love to eat cheese it can be rather disheartening when it doesn’t work.
I will be making more cheese soon so keep reading to see how the next batches work out.