I bought "Home Cheese Making" (the book) several years ago and have been dreaming about making my own Chevre, Ricotta, Mozzarella and Feta. My next career, if I live long enough, will be to raise goats and sheep for milk and spend my days making cheese and soap.
On my recent trip to California, I bought lots of cheese-making supplies -- two kinds of starter, rennet, lipase powder, cheese wax, butter muslin, well you get the picture. These items are not readily available in West Alabama and I wanted to see and talk to someone about them before graduating to buying them online. They have been living in my refrigerator for the past four days, calling to me. I bought four gallons of milk at Sam's Club on Friday and have been reading and re-reading the recipes every night for days.
So yesterday, when I got home from the bakery, I started with Feta. Mix a gallon of milk with 1/4 tsp. of calcium chloride and heat to 86oF. Good thing I have a digital thermometer. (Actually I have two, knew they would come in handy.) Besides the hardware store, which sells CaC12 in 50-pound bags (enough for ten lifetimes of cheese-making), I found it in liquid form at the Pet Supply Store. Turns out it is used in aquariums.
Then add lipase powder, 1/2 tsp., diluted in water. This adds flavor. Then add starter and wait an hour. Then add rennet and wait another hour. Then cut the curds, and wait some more. Then stir the curds. Then strain the curds. Then wait six hours... This is the definition of slow food. My brother correctly suggested that I would never get rich making and selling cheese.
But if I had goats and made larger quantities...
A glutton for punishment, I also made cheese starter, ricotta cheese and soft goat cheese. The starter and goat cheese are works-in-progress as it takes 12-14 hours for the bacteria to grow.
The goal is to get the process down so we can make it at the shop. It is a great job to do while you are doing something else, and we can start making pizza again... The whey, which separates from the curds during the process, can be used to make bread.