For Christmas my little brother gave me a cheese making kit. As he was in the early stages of a beer brewing obsession (It continues. We have flavored beer delivered regularly.), it was only natural to progress to a beer accompaniment. So sometime in early January, I spent what seemed like an entire Saturday making what would become a massive wheel of Monterey Jack cheese.
The kit I used from Ricki's contained everything (minus the dairy) that I needed to make various cheeses. The process is tedious, but the outcome is worth it. The kit gives you recipes for everything from ricotta to cheddar and includes the necessary additives. All you do is purchase the milk or cream and follow the directions. Basically I stood next to the stove all day timing cooking and taking temperatures so as not to ruin the cheese structure. Once it was done on the stove, I wrapped it in cheese cloth and weighted it down. Then it gets brined. Then it dries. And THEN you wax it. No wait, then you wait from 1-3 months (for this kind of cheese) until you can see if it worked or not.
But as someone who thinks it's really important for people to get involved in the kitchen, making cheese really opens your eyes to the art that it is. Now that the first wheel is ready to enjoy, I'm plotting what to make next. I'll let you know in another month how that goes.
What are your favorite food kits?