Tuesday, 30 June 2009

More notes on this cheese-making malarkey

So, let's start with the edifying and good: Last night I made 2 tiny simple supper dishes just for me - broad beans with bacon and cream, and the first tiny courgettes avec flowers, sliced, fried briefly in garlic, tipped onto toasted sourdough, drizzled with yoghurt and gaily scattered with basil and mint. Delicious. A triumph, my dear.

All of which is a delaying tactic, you may think. Well, you're right. Where were we? Oh yes, watching the goats cheese drain its life blood away over 2 days and 2 nights. So drained was it, that the end result was a mere 100g of cheese. Delicate, delicious, fresh, not very goaty-y, but definitely on the side of paucity. Now I am at a loss to explain this, following the instructions as exactly as I did. I even took a quick survey of the temperature of my finger to see if I was too unstable to estimate body temperature, but no, I'm reasonably normal. I went back to the ingredients, and lo - the rennet's expiry date is July 2009. Now my instinct is to say it's a bit like dried yeast, which gets panicky at least a month before its expiry date and so our baking cupboard is littered with half-finished packs of fainthearted yeast. It's the only thing I can think of, so I am going to email old Hugh and see if they think this could be the reason....

Anyway, back to the story. This somewhat surprising result left me 650g of cheese to the worse. Consequently, it had to be bought, which - let me add - ain't cheap, so if you're making this recipe with bought goats cheese, think carefully, cos it came to about £15 in the cheese shop (not a famous one). It was salted, but not too much and fresh and tangy in a way/whey (ha) that would hopefully enliven my pallid contribution.

Mixed the goats cheeses, 2 whisked eggs, 75g sugar (no semolina or oatmeal - who wants a sandy cheesecake?) and baked it (without base) in the oven for about 25 mins at I think 170C. And the result was good. It was a little dense, but that was to be expected and quite tangy, but cooking does bring out the goat taste, to the extent that MCD - who is an ardent goat fan on many levels - felt it a bit OTT and didn't really come back for seconds.

I will be posting a photo of the finished result. Feelings on this particular experiment - far too much hassle for a cheesecake, but for making your own cheese, it's low-effort and easy. Just watch your rennet.

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