We often experience shortages here for various reasons that I will not
elaborate on here...and one of the shortages is cheese. There are some people that import privately, and then charge an exorbitant price for their inferior product. We decided to try and make our own.
Yogurt is made locally, and is sold with fruit added, but is inclined to be watery and not always available, or only one kind is available at any one time. So we decided to try our own dairy derivative cottage industry.
One of the main problems in trying to produce a home made cheese/yogurt is that there is no dairy industry here, probably because there are no milk cows, because there is no pasture land. (see t
he pics of our island, Mahe) So the population uses either UHT or powdered milk,. both imported, though the former is reconstituted locally. The latter is a good idea, because it allows one to control the quality of the milk, (the milkyness/fat content) and one is always sure of a very healthy product. The problem is that the drying process seems to affect the bacteria population slightly, and so to make cheese, one needs to inoculate the milk with a starter. Another problem is that the water here is purified by chlorination, and this could perhaps affect the va
rious cultures that are needed to produce good cheese/yogurt, so we use bottled spring water that has been purified with ultraviolet light.
We have successfully produced, on a small domestic scale, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, very thick and creamy yogurt and also yogurt cheese; this latter item works very well in recipes which call for crème fraise,
cream cheese, curd cheese or even thickened cream. Last week we baked a classic cheesecake, the like of which we have not tasted here, or even in other countries where we have visited.
The photographs I sent before (I attach slightly enlarged versions of some) were taken in what we call the Laboratory, where we do all our cheese yogurt experiments. Very handy to have a special place with its own refrigerator wash-up sink and cooker.
Joey shown below with two cheeses we offered for sale at a fund raiser. One was Queso Fresco and the other a Farmer's cheese. In total there was about 4 pounds of month-old cheese, and it was sold out within the first 15 minutes