You might consider his approach unusual to say the least!
Dr. Peter Achutha is a self-employed computer engineer, rubber technologist and economist. In other words, he’s a scientist. He invented a general theorem for parallel processing called “Finite Event Analysis” and he received a doctorate for his well-known research in economics.
However, Dr. Achutha doesn’t like to use recipes, whether he’s making bread or cheese or homemade virgin coconut oil or cheesecake. He prefers to experiment and to create his own methods. Sometimes this approach leads him to some humorous results, as you will see in his experiments below.
Of course, someday his methods could lead to a culinary breakthrough, so we should probably consider this possibility and keep our chuckling to a minimum. After all, Dr. Achutha is boldly going where none of us have ventured and, most importantly, he is not afraid to fail!
He documents many of his experiments at his eclectic blog- The Bread Diaries. There, you will find articles about making bread with and without yeast, the Old Testament, Jake Goh oil paintings and descriptions of his 2 books- Perfect Love and Other Stories and Market Theories and Predicting the Stock Market by Visual Inspection.
This is the first article he has written about making cheese, and he hasn’t yet posted it on his own blog. So, you could say-this is an exclusive, written for our benefit only. After this, we’ll be looking forward to the next installment of Dr. Achutha’s cheese making adventures.
This is a log of my trials and tribulations at cheese making. Looking back I really wonder what got into me to start cheese making. I guess I love the flavor of genuine cheese and considering the price of cheese in Malaysia which is about RM50 (USD$16) to RM150 (USD$48) per kg (35 oz), that is way too expensive for the average Malaysian to afford eating it every day.
The actual amount of cheese (below) is smaller than what the picture shows.
Here is some of the equipment I had used for the second experiment.
I tasted the stuff after a week of fermentation and it still tasted sweet, too sweet for my taste. This means that the yeast was having difficulty surviving in the cheese mixture and did not consume all the sugar. With bread a 5% sugar mix will completely consumed within about 4 to 5 hours. A 10% sugar mix has a slight sweet flavor after about 5 hours. This indicates that the yeast has consumed most of the sugar. But in the case of the cheese a 10% mix was still sweet after a week. The next time I carry out this experiment, I should use a 5% sugar mix.
I hadn’t added the salt as excess salt will kill the yeast. Excess alcohol will kill the yeast. The next time I try this experiment I will allow the alcohol to evaporate away.
The good news is that 1.5kg (52 oz) of yoghurt yields 0.5 kg (18 oz) of cheese. That is a whole one third of the yoghurt can be converted into something that looks like cheese.
At this point I decided to get some expert advice and some rennet and create some proper cheese and that is when I discovered http://www.cheesemaking.com/ and wrote off to Ms. Ricki Carroll to get some rennet and some real bacteria.
Just imagine if we could get the aromatics from yeast and the flavors from the bacteria in one cheese, that would be wonderful. There will be lots of problems as yeast is sensitive to salt, it needs sugar and I don’t know whether the acidic conditions in the yoghurt based cheese will affect the survival of the cheese bacteria.
Happy experimenting … if you are planning to follow in my footsteps. I hope you do make a splash but not all over your kitchen. If you do succeed in making this marriage work do let me know, the quarrels will be many … not between you and your spouse but between the yeast and the bacteria.