Locally Sourced Pesto: the Cheeses

I did a little research into cheese making and they need starter cultures. Starter cultures are basically

  • specific bacterial mediums that are introduced to
  • milk from specific breeds of cattle
  • in one of it’s forms (butter, cream, whey, curds or raw milk)
  • to produce a specific dairy product (eg. yogurt, brie, buttermilk, Pecorino Fiore Sardo).

What this means is that it is near impossible to make, for instance Pecorino Sardo, like they do in Italy without the Pecorino Sardo starter culture and milk from a Sardinian sheep.

Now, I can buy the starter culture, from Italy online, but I’d have to be incredibly careful about storage so it’s not contaminated by other microbes which may affect flavour, texture and milk to cheese success rate. Also I’d need to do a little more research into the carbon cost of small shipments to individuals vs big ones to stores before deciding if this is more environmental trouble than it’s worth. Alas, our Fish Poop Basil Leaves are anxious to get pesto-ed so this I’ll leave for another day.

To start off, I decided to try making a substitute for Fiore Sardo that’s local and get a block of Parmigiano Reggiano from the supermarket. I went to Jaya Grocers and chose an aged one from Italy that had no preservatives.

RM 34 for 170g at Jaya Grocer, Empire, Subang.

Now for the fun part 🙂

Young Pecorino Fiore Sardo is suppose to taste milky and almost sweet. That reminded me of Paneer! So I googled Goat’s Milk Cheese and *drum roll*


Shobee’s Goat’s Milk Cheese!

Also known as Chevre in french.
On the left: Plain Goat Cheese
On the right: Mixed with organic Garlic and Rosemary.

This was my draining set up

Wah! So engineer one!
A cloth tea strainer with a metal frame, inside it, a perah santan bag and underneath it, a bowl to catch the whey. The big mineral bottle is on the cloth strainers metal handle (it held the weight of 3 liters worth of curds).

It was soooo easy and the cheese is amazing! Almost meaty texture… I dropped chunks of it in the Quiche for Thursday’s Lush Lunch. The whey is also great! I’m using it like a broth and substituting it for water in my baking and cooking.

Bottom line: If you can make tea, you can make this cheese. For 2 – 3 hours of light labour (mostly standing around and waiting) I get cheese AND whey! This is going to be a kitchen staple.

Cost: RM 140

Reccuring – About RM 100 (RM 90 for 4.5 litres of Raw Goat’s Milk, RM 2.50 for 1.5 Lemons, Petrol, Cooking Gas)

One time – RM 40 (RM 10 for Strainer and Santan bag, RM 30 for Thermometer)

Time: About 10 hours spread over the week (Researching, Acquiring Ingredients and Equipment, Making the Cheese)

Next week’s Lush Lunches will feature Shobee’s Selangorian Celup Pesto!

Place your order’s today!