When Cheeky Monkey sent us through one of their cheesemaking kits to try out, I had literally no idea what to expect. I know that cheese is made from milk but that's as far as it goes ! When the goat's cheese kit turned up in the post, I opened it and discovered three little sachets of citric acid, cheese salt and herbes de Provence, a square of cheese cloth and an instruction leaflet.
You need to buy two litres of milk to make the cheese. As our kit was for goat's cheese, we needed goat's milk. Madhouse Daddy headed off to the supermarket and came back with two cartons but, on closer inspection, it was UHT which wouldn't work because the bacteria necessary to make the cheese have all been killed off. After a couple of weeks of looking, I found a lovely lady at the farmers' market who was selling raw cows' milk and asked her the ultimate dumb question - could I make goats' cheese with cows' milk? (I knew it wouldn't be goats' cheese any more but wanted to know if it would produce something cheesy !) She said it would so we were off !
Pierre was as intrigued about making cheese as I was so he helped. It's actually dead easy. You mix citric acid in warm water and add to the milk. (You can use lemon juice instead, apparently.)
Warm it to the required temperature (85°) and it will start to coagulate. The temperature was rising really slowly so I left it to answer the phone and when I came back, it had started to boil - eeek ! It now looked like boiled milk and the lumps had disappeared. I was convincd I'd killed it, but decided to keep going and see if it could be resurrected. (I had an extra bottle of milk so I added that plus a bit more citric acid and reheated very gently.)
You put the cheese cloth in a colander, pour in the milk then leave to drain.
It looked like thick liquid but after a few hours, I did have a semi-solid lump of cheesiness ! I squeezed out a bit more liquid then it was the moment of truth.
I added some of the salt and herbs, along with some garlic granules, then used the cheesecloth to shape it into a rough square.
It has a very mild flavour and is very soft - it reminds me of cottage cheese. If there are any cheese experts out there, maybe you can tell me - is that what I made?!
The picture on the Cheeky Monkeys website shows a much firmer cheese so I'm going to keep looking for unpasteurised goat's milk and have another go.
If you fancy unleashing your inner dairy queen, check out the kits at Cheeky Monkey - they also have mozzarella/ricotta kits and a range of exciting-sounding molecular gastronomy kits too.
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.