To start off, I partially skim the cream off the cream from my milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.
When the milk gets to 90 degrees. Turn off the heat and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mesophilic culture over the top of the milk. I get my cultures, rennet, and cheese making supplies from www.thecheesemaker.com and have found his prices to be spot on competitive. He also has great turn around on products and wonderful customer service.
Stir in the culture. I use the ladle to draw down the culture with up and down motions about 20 times to make sure it is fully incorporated into the milk. Then, let sit for 30 minutes to ripen.
Now cover and let the pot sit for 30 minutes maintaining the 90 degree temperature. Just a note on maintaining temperature. If you are making a small batch of cheese you will not be able to just turn off the heat and expect your cheese to maintain the same temperature unless your room is 90 degrees also. But if you make a large batch with 8 gallons, it takes a long time for that must heat to disburse. I have found that making larger batches is just easier for me since I have so much milk on hand and temperature maintenance is not a problem.
|Yes, it is a HUGE pot|
Next, I scoop the curds out of the pot and into a strainer.
Now, in a smaller oven proof pot that has been sterilized, I dump the lump of curds. Over the next half-hour, I leave the oven on warm and flip the curds a few times (about every 10 minutes and pour off any excess whey that is released from the cheese).
The mass is then cut into large cubes and tossed with 2/3 cup of pickling salt.
Next, I put the curds into a large tomme mold, with natural cheese cloth and put the mold into my cheese press on medium pressure for 1 hour.
Now the cheese, in the mold, sits on my counter under medium pressure for 12 to 18 hours - the next morning is close enough for me.
In the morning, I take the cheese out of the mold. Cut it in half (it is the only way I can shrink wrap my cheese since the full round is too big), place it on a sanitized mat and put in the refrigerator for a few days to dry. Then flip and dry for a few more days.
Your cheese, when completely dried, will be ready to eat or store.