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The Cheese Making Workshop and a Recipe for Quark

I recently signed up for a cheese making class.  I thought it was about time to see how the experts do it.  As I was doing one of my routine cheese making searches around the web I stumbled across these people at The Cheese Making Workshop.  Having muddled through the basics at home, getting pretty alright results, I decided to skip the beginners course and go straight to the advanced.

I was in heaven. We spent the whole day, up to our eyeballs in milk, stirring, cutting, and pressing 6 different cheeses, including Cheddar, Havarti, Romano, creamy blue vein, Haloumi and whey ricotta.  Of course there were also plenty of opportunities to sample the cheesey delights as we went along.

And the best bit? We got to take away some of the cheeses we made to nurture at home.  The Havarti was a rip roaring success, I will definitely be making that one again.

I have yet to crack open the Cheddar, I am patiently waiting for it mature in it’s wax coating. I like a good strong Cheddar, so the longer I leave it the better.  I’m keeping my finger crossed for that one.

The blue was not such a success. I lovingly nurtured it for weeks, but something was not quite right. One day it looked delicious, the next it a had a smell that made me not want to touch it.  I did try and battle through out of principle, I cut off the rind and dug into the centre to see if it was any better inside. I love strong cheeses but when a smell turns my stomach you know it has to go.  I will persist though, and now that I have signed up for Cheesepalooza I will spend the next twelve month working up to a blue cheese, one step at a time.

If you are interested in learning how to make cheese I would definitely recommend the Cheese Making Workshop.  The class is very practical and hands on and Sue is very knowledgeable about all things cheese related.  She is happy to help you out if you get stuck when you are cheese making at home too. So keen to share the cheese love, Sue has kindly given me this easy recipe for Quark (cream cheese) to share with my readers.  This is one of the few homemade cheeses that actually works out cheaper to make than buy, as you can happily make it from UHT milk.  Sue uses it in both sweet and savoury dishes as you would use that popular block of cream cheese you can buy in the supermarkets.

Ideally, you do need a yoghurt maker to maintain the temperature of the milk, but during a Sydney summer I’m sure you could make it in a jar at room temperature, or improvise with warm water and an esky.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Quark (makes about 350g)

1 litre UHT
1/10th teaspoon of freeze dried MH starter (not currently listed on website)

Mix 1 litre of UHT (or heat milk to 90C then cool to 40C) with 1/10thtsp of freeze dried MH starter.  Pour into the glass jars then incubate in yoghurt maker for 10 hours.

Refrigerate for approximately 3 hours.  Turn into a cheesecloth lined colander or sieve.  Tie the cheesecloth over a wooden spoon and hang over a container to drain for 24 –48 hours in the fridge. The quark becomes firmer the longer it is left to hang.

Turn into a garlic log rolled in herbs, coffee log rolled in chocolate flakes, fruit log rolled in toasted flaked almonds or use anywhere you would use cream cheese. It makes great dips and cheesecake, or like me, serve it with smoked salmon on English Muffins for a special Sunday treat.

Nic Cooks paid to attend the cheese making workshop.


Comment from Kyrstie @ A Fresh Legacy
Time July 30, 2012 at 5:56 am

I am looking forward to hearing your cheddar results Nic. Well done for being able to great such a great selection of cheeses.

Comment from Nic@diningwithastud
Time July 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

I def want to try the hard cheese course. The soft was great 😀 Im contemplating cheesapalooza but Im not sure I can commit to monthly :/

Comment from nic
Time August 4, 2012 at 11:45 am

Thanks Kyrstie, I’ll let you know when I crack into the Cheddar!

Nic, you should definitely join in with Cheesepalooza, you don’t have to commit to every month and the first few will be quick and easy!

Comment from janelle
Time November 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

what exactly is the mh starter? i couldn’t find it listed for sale on the link you included. cream cheese is so hard to find where i currently live and i would love to make some.

Comment from nic
Time December 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi Janelle, the MH starter is a type of mesophyllic starter. I have emailed the Cheesemaking workshop for the ingredients but they haven’t replied as yet. I purchased it from their shop so I’m sure they would supply it if you emailed them. I have also tried this recipe with other mesophyllic starters and they still work they just have slightly different flavours.

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