I'm usually the one who gets siezed by the impulse to pick up new hobbies, but this time it's Mom. Mom and cheese. Yesterday morning she gave a lengthy discourse on how easy it might be to make cheese using milk and vinegar, so in the evening we trotted out to the grocery store to get dog food and pick up some milk. No one said anything about needing a gallon of milk, so I just grabbed a quart from the cooler and threw it in the cart. Oops.
Turns out it wasn't that hard make half what the recipe which, according to the website she read earlier in the day, was for a gallon of milk and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. No salt, no herbs, no rennet, nothing. When the milk finally deigned to form miniscule curds, I sent Rachael a text message and she, in turn, directed me to the website for the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.
Mom got a little discouraged when it looked like the curds weren't really doing what they were supposed to do, so it was a big shock when she unwrapped the blob of cheese this morning. Last night before I went to bed, I poured the curds into the collander and let the whey drain through a clean dish towel, and after they'd drained enough to form a cohesive mass, I hung the towel up to drain some more; the result was something similar to queso blanco. Since she wasn't really sure at which point to add the salt, she rolled it in kosher salt and hoped some of the flavor would seep into the cheese. I wonder if brining it somehow might be a good idea next time. Mom's got pictures up on her blog.
So, thanks to Rachael's suggestion, we ordered some packets of starter to make chevre if we can find some goat's milk that isn't ultra-pasteurized.