Tenth Time’s A Charm – Finally Cracked The Little Squirrels!

Anyone who has followed this site knows that I have worked on my “Little Squirrel” Semi-Lactic cheese, for almost two years now.  I think that after countless litres of milk, several ounces of cultures and molds, the tenth version has met the bill!  I think I have cracked it.  Am I sure? No, but I am confident and I have hope.  I am definitely happy with the results so far.  Am I ready to share the recipe?  Not on your life!  Not yet at least.  I want to have several successful makes before giving out this baby.  I will share some things with you though, but as they say pictures are worth a thousand words

Whole milk

It starts with my “HomeMaid” Whole milk

Little Squirrel Cultures

And a pinch of culture and a pinch of Geo 17

First you mix the skim milk and the whipping cream together in the pot.  If you have access to whole or cream-line milk you can use it instead.

First you mix the skim milk and the whipping cream together in the pot. If you have access to whole or cream-line milk you can use it instead.

Bringing milk up to temp

then you bring the milk up to temperature and sprinkle on your cultures. Then you add the rennet.

Ripening milk

Next you place the pot with your cultured milk in a nice warm spot. Like the top of the fridge for 12-14 hours. Does this count as a “Selfie”?

18 hours later…….

We have good pooling of whey on top

We have good pooling of whey on top

I checked for a clean break and it was pretty good

I checked for a clean break and it was pretty good

This was the best looking curd I have ever had with store bought milk.

This was the best looking curd I have ever had with store-bought milk.

Time to set up and start to fill moulds!

Time to set up and start to fill moulds!

The curd was quite easy to ladle into the moulds using an ice cream scoop

The curd was quite easy to ladle into the moulds using an ice cream scoop

This was the best I could have hoped for.

This was the best I could have hoped for.

I just love the look of those curds sitting in the moulds.

I just love the look of those curds sitting in the moulds.

There was so much I had to get a ricotta basket and line it with ply-ban and fill it.

There was so much I had to get a ricotta basket and line it with ply-ban and fill it.

After several hours of draining , 32 to be exact, it was time to un mould the cheese and start to age them.  I set my cheese fridge to a lower temperature this time, and used a ripening box.  One of the cheeses was too big, so it had to be hand moulded into two smaller ones.

Here they are, all sung in their ripening box

Here they are, all sung in their ripening box

A few days later the geo started to bloom.

The start of the little brainy squiggles

The start of the little brainy squiggles

The rest are showing signs of Geo Bloom.

The rest are showing signs of Geo Bloom.

It was this past weekend, that the Geo bloom had really taken hold.  The brainy lines that formed were exactly what I was looking for.

Maybe I should call this one Brainy Squirrel

Maybe I should call this one Brainy Squirrel

The smell is earthy but not bad.

The smell is earthy but not bad.

No ammonia smell at all.

No ammonia smell at all.

It is now 10 days since they were made, it is time to wrap them up.

It is now 10 days since they were made, it is time to wrap them up.

I am concerned that if I don't the geo may go to far.

I am concerned that if I don’t the geo may go to far.

Here they are all wrapped, some what poorly, but wrapped.  The middle one is for quality control

Here they are all wrapped, some what poorly, but wrapped. The middle one is for quality control

A tower of Little Squirrels of to the fridge.

A tower of Little Squirrels of to the fridge.

I have had both of the hand formed ones by now, as quality control of course.  They were still quite young but nice to sample.  There was a slight chalkiness, but still creamy.  The flavour was subtle with hints of salt and finishes with a hint of sweet lemon.  I know these are not proper tasting notes.  They will come later when the Little Squirrels come out of their hibernation.

There will be some more pictures up on the Facebook page

Until next time go and make some cheese.

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