Cheeses are seasonal – that’s something I’ve come to appreciate in recent years. So, before summer arrived this week, I decided to have a go at making a fresh, spring cheese at home.
To my delight – and surprise – it was rather simple.
I got the idea from a book I gave Damon as a Christmas present a while back. Written by brothers Alex and Léo Guarneri – who run the Androuet cheese shop in London’s Spitalfields – A Year in Cheese runs through the calendar, aligning cheeses with the seasons.
They insist that making your own cheese is fun. So I decided to take them at their word.
I bought a litre of raw milk, which I found readily available in the local supermarket. Then, armed with a cooking thermometer, I followed their recipe carefully.
I brought the milk up gently to 95°C, then added 30ml of white wine vinegar. As you might expect, the curd and whey separated immediately.
I left the mixture for a further 10 minutes for the whey to become completely clear.
I separated the curd using a sieve and placed it in a colander lined with a clean tea towel. I then sprinkled it with salt and gently mixed in some parsley and mint.
“As our future plans involve running a cheese-and-wine business, being able to serve homemade cheese would be a bonus”
We had cheese moulds and all the paraphernalia in the cupboard after spending a day at High Weald Dairy in West Sussex a few years ago. There, we made several cheeses, including halloumi, ricotta and a Cheddar.
So, after transferring the cheese to a mould, I left it to chill in the fridge. It became firmer as it cooled.
I served it with a baguette tradition as our cheese course over dinner on Sunday. Although the texture was slightly rubberier than I might have chosen, it tasted delightfully fresh.
Making it has inspired me to try out some other cheese recipes. After all, as our future plans involve running a cheese-and-wine business, being able to serve homemade cheese would be a bonus.
This weekend, we’re in Italy visiting friends who have brought a palazzo in Tuscany, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for local Italian cheeses to try.