Cheesemaking Part 2 of 5:Weird Science?

After straining the milk through a filter, I put it in gallon-sized glass jars. Then it just sits in the dairy until coagulation occurs, as seen in the jar on the left. This happens in 2 to 4 days depending on the temperature. I am skipping the commercial pasteurization and culturing/renneting steps here. Basically, instead of killing the indigenous microbes and replacing them with a mono-cultured clone, I am doing what observant humans have done for millennia to preserve milk. Scientifically speaking I am taking advantage of the lacto-peroxidase system that inherently discourages the growth of pathogens in the milk, and of the omnipresent lactic acid-forming bacteria to lower the pH so that the milk will curdle. From a gustative angle, I am using my local terroir, a presumably diverse cadre of yeast, molds and bacteria that will give the resulting cheese a complex and unique flavor. Do I know all this will come about? Uh – no, but if I can’t eat cheese I am prepared to eat crow…

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