Make Your Own Cheese
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If we can stock our cupboards with homebrew, why not fill our fridges with own-brand fromage? A one-day course at Wildes Cheese's north London home will teach you how to do just that, using basic equipment and only one here's-one-I-made-earlier moment. The white walls, hairnets and shoe covers that greet you on arrival could fool you into thinking that cheesemaking is a serious business. Fortunately it becomes apparent within minutes that Philip Wilton and Keith Sides – who used to have 'proper jobs' before becoming urban cheesemakers just three years ago – are going to make sure your time with them is an absolute joy.
The dairy-packed day will see you create a stretch-curd cheese that's similar to mozzarella, a fresh cheese that will mature in your salad drawer for as long as you can hold yourself back, and a super-creamy Philadelphia-ish spreadable cheese. To a soundtrack of disco classics, you'll mix what Philip calls 'magic fairy dust' (starter bacteria) and vegetarian rennet into your precisely warmed milk before cutting the curds, draining the whey and then mixing, stretching and shaping your way towards three prize examples.
As well as providing pastries, cake and lunch, Philip and Keith will feed you so many samples from the maturing rooms that you may not be able to face your own creations afterwards, helping to justify the class's hefty price tag. The cost of buying the ten litres of unhomogenised milk you need to cook up just one kilo of curds makes this an expensive exercise. But then, you get the chance to get hands-on with some delicious cheese, and in my book that's priceless. Ashleigh Arnott