Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Great Cheese Experiment.



Yesterday, I made up the cheese culture as per the instructions. I did not have a vacuum flask big enough, except for one of those pump action dispenser type ones. Leave for 20 hours was the instruction, so this morning when I came downstairs, I found that the laws of Physics had siphoned half the liquid onto the worktop for me.

Undeterred, I reasoned that either the culture would work or it wouldn’t, and the only way to find out was to actually try to make some cheese. That required 5 litres of milk, which will make cheese or not. You can’t tell until you have tried. So in the spirit of New Year, New attitude, I proceeded to have a go. There was only semi-skimmed milk at the shop, but I followed the instructions to the letter, and now I’m just waiting to see if curds have formed. Obviously, when you read this you will know straight away, as soon as you can read the next line, but the 45 minute wait for me was in turn exciting and worrying. Would I waste 5 litres of milk? Would I have to make a new culture? Is it because I am not cultured myself? (Or so I’m told, when I worked at sea for the P&O I was told that my personnel file was marked NSPD, and on enquiry it was explained that that meant Not Suitable for Passenger Division.)

The instructions were explicit, cover and leave for 45 minutes, of course that means that I found it hard to resist having a look, but I did, and tension rose.

I have also found that you can’t take photos of milk curdling and make them interesting.

And……………….. It didn’t work, who knows what I did wrong, maybe it was the skimmed milk, maybe the culture, maybe something else. Any ideas welcomed. 

In the spirit of going for broke, I thought that I might as well have a play with the milk, rather than just pour it away, so in my trusty recipe book I found a method using milk, heat and cider vinegar to make Haloumi.

Why not?

And a few minutes later I have my answer.


As you can see, I have curds, which will now sit in the fridge for a day or so to ripen, but the initial taste is promising. I will e-mail the place where I got the culture and pick his brains; meanwhile I think I may have saved the day (and the milk)


  1. Happy New Year Mooontide to you and Yvonne and family.

    May I make a suggestion with regard to a vaccuum flask. I have a couple of Easyo flasks used primarily for making home made yogurt - the flask consists of an outer container an inner flask and a baffle. What you in effect do is put the baffle half way into the flask, pop in the inner flask with its contents screw on the lid and then fill with boiling water from a kettle up to the neck then pop on the outer lid and leave overnight to work for yogurt - I would suggest that investment in this would help with you creating your culture and the added advantage is that you can make your own home made yogurt as well. You are not obliged to use the Easyo mixes which are extremely good but you can also make yogurt from warmed milk, and a couple of tablespoons of natural live yogurt (the starter) and then from each batch you make you keep a little back to start the new batch. This will make a litre of yogurt each time and you can add your own flavourings. The flask is available from Lakeland. I will when I get a minute pop up how to do this on my blog as it is something I have been doing for a very long time and I have found the Easyo flask the simplest and cheapest way of all.

    I think you may well have saved the day by turning the milk into Halloumi.

    I am hoping to play in the not too distant future.

    Take care



    1. Hello and A Happy New Year to you and yours.
      Once again thanks for the tip, I have an Easiyo thing SOMEWHERE, even though we moved two years ago I still have boxes in the loft! You're right it would be perfect for cheese culture. We are trying the Haloumi with Mushrooms today, I will keep you posted.