Deluxe Basic Cheese Making Set (K1, RW1 & BR12) (G3)
Fair kit, instructions are missing many details, not worth the money in my opinion
I bought it thinking that being a deluxe kit, it would be pretty dang good. I had moderate expectations, and once I received the kit, I was let down.
It includes what you see in the picture, that is correct, but I was expecting more quantity. To be perfectly frank, what I see in this kit only seems to be worth $25 at the very most. I realize she has to make a profit, but I expected double the rennet and starter cultures. It feels like a sample pack to me.
My biggest complaint is the recipe booklet. Honestly I feel like she wrote it in a rush and expects people to know more than a novice. She mentions butter muslin for equipment, but doesn't explain what it is or even give a drawing. There are almost no troubleshooting steps involved. As a perfect example, she mentions to test for a clean break after 45 minutes, if none, use more rennet next time. WAIT! Does that mean my cheese is ruined or keep using it? Can I wait longer? She doesn't answer these questions. I ended up finding a MUCH more detailed procedure, with troubleshooting, on a university web site. It turns out that clean break can happen between 45 minutes to 3 hours, again, she doesn't mention this. Mine took 2 hours. She mentions to use cheese salt, which I have never heard of, and my roommate who is a cook hasn't either. No sample is included. Another BIG complaint is she doesn't mention when and when not to use heat. Only at the beginning she says to warm the milk to 90F, wait 45 minutes, add cultures and rennet, and wait another 45. So... am I supposed to keep the heat on, or turn it off and let it naturally below below 90F?
There are a handful of other items that are either hidden in the booklet, or missing. I realize if she included everything, it would be huge, but far too many little details are missing. This truly looks like it was just thrown together.
Are these any positives? Well, I made my first batch yesterday, partially thanks to her kit, but mostly thanks to pictures and detailed instructions on that university web site I mentioned. Buying her kit saved me from having to separately find all of the ingredients, and the cheese mold is nice, if not a little small.
Bottom line: if you need detailed instructions with good troubleshooting, don't rely on the included booklet. I strongly feel the kit is too small for the price. Get a cheese making book or look for better instructions somewhere else. Would I buy this again? No. Would I recommend it? No.
Making Farmhouse Cheddar
Let the Cheese Making Commence:
Although I have dabbled in making soft cheeses (such as mozzarella) in the various hotels and restaurants that I have worked in I have never really had the opportunity to make different types of cheeses, more specifically hard cheese. That's about to change.
Want to see pictures? http://dstuchel.blogspot.com/2011/08/making-farmhouse-cheddar.html
Thermometer And Bristle Brush Recieved Not As Pictured
Ok, again I am new to cheesemeking. I ordered this kit because I wanted to make sure I had some of the items that may be necessary in the process without purchasing them separately. Not to be too picky, however, when I look at a picture and base my purchasing decision on it; I expect it to be exactly the same. The brush I received has blue around the base (Not as pictured). Although this is not crucial I have been trying to eradicate the blue stuff in my life and coordinate to the colors I prefer. Ok, I'll get over it. However, the mini-budget thermometer I received was not the same in the picture either. This was kind of a big deal to me. Although I did not expect a 'top-of-the-line' thermometer, I did expect one like the one shown in the picture. My eyesight is not what it used to be. I received one that is so small of a dial and thin clip that I'm going to have a lot of difficulty seeing it. I just wanted to express my disappointment over this, and warn others about this issue. Otherwise, hopefully the rest will go well when I finally get a chance to attempt the process.
What a great way to start
I found this kit at my local specialty grocery store and purchased it on a whim. I made a couple mistakes with my first batch, but it was smooth sailing from there. It's like kitchen alchemy. I'm hooked!
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The Cheese Queen is in Food and Wine and Barbara Kingsolver's
book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle!
Thanks for joining our cheese making family, keep those stories & photos coming. We love to hear from you!
Ricki, the cheese queen