039 Of candles and cheese-making

039 Of candles and cheese-making

On the last day of my four month’s off, I had some projects open. It was a day of firsts and seconds. I made cheese for the first time. I made candles for the second time (if you count my first pretty failed attempt). And then, I made a very special pizza.

Four months off sounded like a lot in the beginning. And then, there was only one day left: A day of finishing projects and preparations.

I’ve never made cheese before. I had no idea if it would work. But I still prepared pizza dough, trusting that it would work out one way or another.

Slowly, the milk was coming to temperature. Meanwhile, I was baking dough assembly-line style. I also prepared the jars for the candles I wanted to pour.

Finally, the milk was at temperature, and I could add the vinegar. I kept trying to compare what I saw to what the recipe had said. When the milk curdled, I was grinning widely. It’s cheese now.

While I waited for the curd to settle, I started melting a failed first attempt at candles from a few weeks ago. My improvised melting solution had tipped over, and water had gotten into the wax. Things were going much more smoothly this time with the second-hand chocolate pot.

The curd had settled. I used a slotted spoon and a cotton bag to separate the whey. It wasn’t as smooth as the video of the recipe but it was definitely something.

I’d never cooked with whey but there was no way I’d waste all this liquid. I’ll learn this, too.

All the while, I was melting batches of wax in the little double burner. I finished the watery candle of molten failed attempts. And started pouring a second one.

My cheese was done dripping, so I got it into a container. The crumbles were smooth, but it was still far from perfect. But with a bit of salt, it did indeed taste like cheese.

Apparently, Pepper loves whey.

With timers on my phone, I managed not to burn any wax.

I started worrying about dinner, and did a trial run pizza for my lunch. I need not have worried. That I was munching on the cheese while cooking should have given me a hint. The cheese worked great. It’s not perfect. But it works. Not bad for a first attempt.

Finally, the last bit of wax is melting.

I’m almost done making candles, which makes this a super productive day because I’ve made cheese, and candles, and pizza, and bread rolls, and everything’s prepared for me to go to school with enough time to spare for me to take an actual break. I cleaned up, closed the kitchen door behind me, and shut off my brain. A real break.

So long, and thanks for being here.