I received the Big Cheese Making Kit (goats cheese version) created by The Big Cheese as a Christmas present from my girlfriend, perfect gift for me as I love cooking and cheese (she must know me well!).
I have to be honest it was only a couple of weeks ago when I finally got round to making the cheese, a full 8 months after Christmas, luckily the kit does have a shelf life of 2 years. I don’t know if that’s by default or design but it’s very welcome as making 10 batches of cheese within a month or so would surely put you off cheese and making it for life.
Opening the box the kit seems a little sparse but I assure you that apart from a pan, colander and milk it does have everything you need. The butter muslin is of high quality and so is the thermometer, (in fact it’s a lot better than my ‘chef endorsed’ thermometer). The instructions are very clear and concise that don’t overwhelm you with the task at hand.
After reading the instructions all the way through as it suggests I was ready to start making the cheese. You have to heat the milk to 87 degrees celsius, which took an absolute age for my 4 pints of goats milk. I resisted the urge to put my hob up to full whack and after a while it was time to add the citric acid. When I did the change was apparent straight away, the smooth milk had separated and I had my curds and whey. Draining and pressing the curds took an hour and after that it was ready to eat, which I did; spread on sourdough and a sprinkle of capers and black pepper.
I have to say I was quite shocked of how easy making cheese was and the fact that it was really tasty. I will say though I planned to make the hard crumbly goats cheese but it did come out quite soft and creamy (still tasted fantastic though). I think I might either have not let it drain enough or not used a heavy enough weight when pressing the cheese. Also something of note: I had over a litre of whey after the draining process and only 3 ramekin dishes of cheese. I guess that this is just the way cheese making goes. I froze the whey so I could use it in the future for bread making, which I will post about soon. There are lots of uses of the left over whey, some can be found here. There are a few recipes and tips on the Big Cheese website here which will give you a great insight on how the company started and maybe give you some inspiration to make your own cheese.
Having tried the goats cheese kit it really has given me a passion to make more and I would like to try the other cheese kits that The Big Cheese Making Kit does. The Ultimate Cheese Kit with equipment and ingredients to make 8 different cheeses looks really interesting… and yes that is a hint for next Christmas.
+ A lot of fun
+ Easy to follow instructions
+ High quality equipment and ingredients
+ Reasonably priced
– Low yield *
*really this is a general cheese making trait rather than the kit itself