Do you ever buy someone a present that you really wish you could keep yourself?

Cheesemaking kit by Misericordia

We bought a cheese making kit for our cheese-obsessed friends and then, just as I thought about buying one for myself as a treat, received a kit of our very own from the lovely Liz at Mrs Whiskerson.

We finally got around to trying it out, on a particularly grumpy Sunday afternoon, so hold tight and here we go!

Eight pints of milk by Misericordia

The first problem was finding a non-reactive pan large enough for the eight pints of milk required for a full batch. After a bit of frantic work with our fridge magnet collection, I remembered the jam pan.

Pouring milk for cheesemaking by Misericordia

After that, it’s just a case of dissolving this into that, heating, stirring, allowing to sit, a bit more heating, some stirring again and pouring it all into a colander to drain.

Straining cheese curds by Misericordia

A full batch makes a very healthy wodge of cheese, so I made the firmer variety so it would last.

Pressing cheese with weights by Misericordia

The next questions was what to do with all the whey, which amounted to what felt like nine or 10 pints!

Curds and whey by Misericodia

The recipe makes sour whey, and the acidity means you shouldn’t just pour it down the sink. So far I’ve used it instead of water to cook rice, made whey pickles, and washed my hair with it. That leaves about six pints in the freezer to use up slowly! (You can use it as stock in soups, and I think it will make an appearance in my next risotto.)

Homemade crowdie cheese by Misericordia

Cheese making was a fun experiment, and one of those things I always wanted to try, but I’m not sure I’m going to quit my day job. More cheese, anyone?