The first picture above is one of the cheeses I bought at the Hungarian Farmers' Market (along with some yogurt and fruit). It was a soft white cheese with a very mild flavor, but held it's shape and was sold in wedges to your specification (second picture it's the cheese in the upper left corner). Elena Lakatos told me that it was a common cheese usually mixed with fruit but also used in a savory way served with bacon......hmnn....that's how I came up with my blueberry, cheese and bacon lunch I ate on the plane home.....it was delicious! Anyway, of course I can't get this cheese here so I've been looking for the most similar I can find.....or make!
The natural progression (because you know I'm all about progressions!) is to start with the easiest, yogurt, graduating to a "yogurt cheese", and then maybe cottage cheese, also similar to the two cheeses known as farmers cheese and fromage blanc. Ricotta is also supposed to be super easy, as is creme fraiche, sour cream, etc....so I started with yogurt.
The yogurt I made came out OK to be honest. I didn't follow the directions exactly because I started with some differences. First of all I bought my milk in the morning and left it out of the fridge until I started making it around 4:45pm so it was, not warm but, close to room temp from the beginning. Which was a good thing because I hadn't re-read the directions until it was too late to be reminded that the first cooking time was 2 1/2 hr, and then another waiting period of 2 hrs, before the final 8 hrs....I forgot about the 2 hrs in the middle because I go to bed at 8:00!
Through researching online the common theme was to get the milk to a certain temp and then let it come down and maintain the lower temp for around 8 hrs, or overnight (same thing). Because my milk was not cold when I started I only needed about 1 hr 15 min to get the temp at 150-155 degrees. It took a little over an hour to come down to 115-ish that's when I added the starter and left it overnight insulated with the towel covering the crockpot.
4:00am....the picture in my last post is what I woke up to. Although it was a bit runny and curdley I wasn't worried about the texture as much as the flavor. I seperated it into small containes and put it in the fridge thinking it may firm up a bit....it didn't. No biggie, firm yogurt is not as important as how it tastes..... I didn't find the flavor to be better to be honest. I've had a few really good store bought yogurts, in fact the one I used as a starter was better! (Strauss Family plain full fat) I'll try again of course, but what to do with this batch?
This of course is just the beginning. The idea and ease of making my own dairy products is exciting but I'm not going to go crazy on you all by sprouting stuff or going vegan! I may look into fermenting, but only because I read an interesting recipe for fermented lacto-salsa (I have to use that whey!).
My attempt at bread is today/tomorrow (it's got to rise for 12-18 hrs!).