Farm­house kitchen

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Growing -

Gar­lic & chive cheese for be­gin­ners

This slice­able, quick herby cheese is per­fect for the be­gin­ner cheese­maker. It doesn’t take long to process, presses in a few hours, and goes straight in the fridge, ready to eat im­me­di­ately or over the next few weeks. It is one of the cheeses in my new book, com­ing out in Novem­ber.

PREPA­RA­TION: 1.5 hours PRESS­ING: 3.5 hours YIELD: 750g


● 7.5 litres fresh or farm­house or blue top milk

● 237ml cul­tured but­ter­milk con­tain­ing

● ei­ther Lac­to­coc­cus lac­tis or Lac­to­bacil­lus bul­gar­i­cus, which cre­ates more tart­ness ½ tsp cal­cium chlo­ride

● ½ tsp | 2.5ml calf ren­net OR

● 1/8 tsp | 0.7ml mi­cro­bial ren­net 2 tbsp cooled, boiled wa­ter (see tips)

● 1 litre cooled, boiled wa­ter (see tips)

● 3 tsp plain salt

● ½ tsp gar­lic pow­der

● 3 tbsp chopped, fresh chives


1. Warm the milk in a bain-marie to 30°C over 10 min­utes. 2. Add the but­ter­milk and stir for about 30 sec­onds to mix through. Don’t whisk or make bub­bles. 3. Di­lute the cal­cium chlo­ride in 1 tbsp of cooled, boiled wa­ter, add to the milk and mix for 30 sec­onds. Di­lute the ren­net in 1 tbsp of cooled, boiled wa­ter, add to the milk and mix for another 30 sec­onds. 4. Place a sani­tised lid on the pot and leave for 45 min­utes, undis­turbed. Main­tain the heat at 30°C by adding hot wa­ter to the outer pot of the bain-marie as re­quired. 5. Test the curd for a clean break by cut­ting it across the mid­dle, right to the bot­tom of the pot. If it’s clean and the edges of the cut are sharp, it is ready to cut into curds. If the test cut is soft and the edges are wob­bly and close up straight away, show­ing no le­mon-coloured whey, leave it to sit an ex­tra 5 min­utes be­fore cut­ting. Make sure it’s warm enough too – add hot wa­ter to the outer pot of the bain-marie if not. Cut the curd into 2cm cubes – if you can’t reach the curds near the bot­tom of the pot, you can cut them in the next step. 6. Heat the curds slowly to 38°C over 20 min­utes – that’s just 2°C ev­ery 5 min­utes so the eas­i­est way is to add hot wa­ter to the outer pot of the bain-marie ev­ery few min­utes (you may have to re­move some wa­ter so you can add more hot wa­ter). Prod at the curds to keep them apart at this stage as they are still quite frag­ile but they will toughen up a bit as they cook. Cut any larger pieces of curd into 2cm cubes as they come to the sur­face. 7. Drain off the ex­cess whey. Line a sani­tised colan­der with sani­tised cheese­cloth and pour the curds into it.

8. Warm the ex­tra litre of wa­ter to 38°C, then gen­tly pour it over the curds, mix­ing it through with your other (sani­tised) hand so that it washes the curds – this low­ers the acid­ity of the curds. 9. Let the curds drain in the colan­der for 10 min­utes. They should drain down to one mass and be a bit spongy but quite firm. 10. Tip the curds back into the empty pot and mix through the salt, gar­lic pow­der and chives us­ing your sani­tised hands or spoons. 11. Line a 1kg tomme or kadova mould with sani­tised cheese­cloth. Spoon the curds into the mould and fold the cloth over the top. Place the fol­lower on top and press at 5kg for 30 min­utes. 12. Re­move the mould from the press. Take off the fol­lower and use the ma­te­rial to gen­tly pull the cheese up and out of the mould. Un­wrap it care­fully, mak­ing sure that you don’t pull any of the cheese rind off. Re­line the mould with the used cheese­cloth, turn the cheese over and place it back in the lined mould. Pull the cloth back over the curd and place the fol­lower on top. Press at 10kg for 3 hours. 13. Un­mould and un­wrap the cheese, place in a sani­tised plas­tic con­tainer and re­frig­er­ate. It will keep for up to a month in the fridge.

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