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a simple cows’ milk cheese

skip the intro and jump straight to the recipe click here

My friends are very crafty when it comes to pushing me onto the next project. “I think you would like this book!”or “You’ll be interested in this”and mostly they are so, so right. The book that has caused me the most pleasure and definitely the most pain in the last six months has been Home Cheese making, recipes for 75 homemade cheeses by Ricki Carroll, published by Storey Publishing about $30.95 click here to read the review. This book covers just about every type of cheese the only problem is the recipes are written in American measures, and whilst there are some brilliant sites with conversion facilities it is quite a bit of extra work.

From this book I have made a blue cheese inoculated with Italian Gorgonzola Piccante that is progressing quite nicely and tried a lot of other recipes with a lot less success. In the absence of a ’cheese cave’ basically a really good damp cellar, an exceptionally cold winter has meant that the entranceway of my home has been a perfect temperature of about 6°-10°C. Several attempts at brie have been less successful, but are close enough, even to the traced mould of recent national award winning cheeses that I haven’t given up on the project. The next experiments will have to wait till next winter when it will again be cold enough to take them one step further.

We have always made simple cheeses started with junket. This time of year it was always very fresh goats’ milk cheese, roasted garlic, blanched and peeled broad beans, salt pepper massed chopped parsley fresh pasta. A few very simple seasonal ingredients and so very delicious. The local cheese industry is needy when it comes to goats’ milk and it has become quite expensive, but it can be ordered from most organic and health stores. A fresh goats’ cheese after just three to four days will have a delicate but interesting flavour and a silken quality that we have found hard to replicate with cows’ milk.

To my surprise Ricki Carroll suggests that any of the cheeses in his book can be made with full cream powdered milk. All of the cheese makers I know personally are obsessed with the quality and freshness of the milk the use and we have learned to distrust those authors who place no similar emphasis on the quality and freshness of the milk that is to be used. For our cows’ milk cheeses we have used Paris Creek full cream milk for a very long time and more recently when not able to get Paris Creek have been using the newly introduced Alexandrina Cheese Company full cream milk. If you want to see the difference between using skim/low fat and full cream, try making your best crème caramel recipe with a mix of either B–d Paris Creek or Alexandrina Cheese Company full cream milk and rich cream, as against skim milk and thickened supermarket cream. Silken heaven and the same can be said for crème brûlée, the end result is an altered state as close to heaven as I will probably ever get. Recently in search of rennet we discovered that vegetable rennet could be purchased in 100g lots for $10 from Smelly Cheese at the Adelaide Central Markets.


  • Only use full cream milk.
  • Never apply direct heat to the milk. We use a large pot with a round cake rack in the bottom ½ fill with boiling water and another pot inside. Milk taken straight from a fridge (range 2°C-3°C) will take 6-8 minutes to come to the required 38°C temperature.
  • Utensils must be meticulously clean. We always wash and then boil the muslin in the microwave before using it in cheese making.
  • The rectangular baskets we use are available from most of the Chinese variety shops in the Adelaide Central Markets Arcade off of the main China town drag. The baskets we use for rectangular cheeses are 30 cm x 12 cm, and cuts neatly into 12 pieces. Depending on the accompaniments one basket (1 quantity of the following recipe) makes a great entrée for 4 – 6 people.

Fresh Cows’ Milk Cheese
makes 12, 5 cm x 6 cm x 2 cm squares
this simple cheese can be made at any time of the year

Please note — we recently tried to make this cheese with ordinary milk and the recipe did not work please stick to biodynamic or organic full cream milk

2L Paris Creek Biodynamic full cream milk or Alexandrina Cheese full cream milk heated as described above to 38°C
10g vegetable rennet
20g quality fine sea salt

Without frothing or whisking it, add the rennet to the warmed milk in an up and down motion. Stand it on a rack and set a timer for 2 hours. When the timer goes, take a long knife and cut the curds into 2 cm squares running the knife backwards and forwards. The more even you can get this the smoother the texture of the cheese seems to be. Set a timer for another hour.
Ten minutes before the timer is due to go wet the muslin and rinse the cheese form and put them in the microwave for 2 minutes on high. Be very careful because the muslin will be boiling. Let it sit for a couple of minutes then put on some food service gloves (cotton gloves inside food service gloves is a good idea). Sit a rack in a deep container, squeeze out the muslin and line the basket with the muslin. Slowly tip the curds into the form and shake them gently to even the depth out and evenly scatter the salt over the top and wearing food service gloved very gently turn the curds over. Fold the muslin back and set a timer for another two hours.

Reserving the whey because you can make ricotta with it (look on line there is plenty of information), drain off the whey, cover the container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The cheese will keep a very sweet fresh undeveloped flavour for three days and we are experimenting with longer maturing including washed rind using less rennet, but given that we have finally felt a couple of rays of sunshine it may e next year when these recipes are completed.

To serve the cheese
2 pinches fine sea salt
black pepper freshly ground
2 free range eggs, lightly beaten with the seasoning
plain four
Japanese breadcrumbs (sometimes called Panko)
EV olive oil for frying

other ingredients
½ lemon per person, quartered, pips removed
accompaniment suggestions
  • simple salad greens with lots of herbs and a little finely chopped shallot
  • beetroot, orange, red onion, radicchio
  • fresh chunky style Italian tomato sauce with a little fresh or dried chilli to add some zing
  • the list is endless depending on the weather

Gently flour the cheese squares, egg and crumb them. Egg them and crumb them again (second crumb is optional) but makes for a nice crunchy crust. Fry the crumbed cheese in hot EV olive oil, drain on paper towel and serve. Lemon wedges are mandatory, accompaniments are as diverse as you can come up with.

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.