Mesophilic Starter

Can you believe it?  I have somehow hurt my back AGAIN.  I guess working in the garden this weekend was not very smart, although at the time it felt ok.

I went to the family practice on Carman Rd. and the doctor told me there was nothing he could do for me and I needed to go to the ER.  They made me wait half an hour in the waiting room (I cannot get up from a sitting position without excruciating pain) then he pushed on my back which made me almost collapse, then told me there was nothing he could do. What could the ER do that he couldn’t? Isn’t he a doctor?  He also refused to give me a referral for PT (I don’t think I need one with my insurance anyway, but I asked) because he said he couldn’t examine me.  But of course, took my copay.

Why would I clog up the ER with something that was obviously not an emergency, when he is a doctor and it was during business hours?  So frustrating.

Anyway, since I’m now flat on my back unable to get up, I have time for a blog post.

Over the weekend, while I was mobile, I was able to make some mesophilic starter.

Although there are a variety of starters for different cheeses, there are two basic ones used for many: mesophilic and thermophilic.  I bought 5 packets of mesophilic starter from the brewing store the other day, but my new cheese book told me how I could make my own.  In order to save money, I decided to try – since it costs $6/5 packets (not a lot, but why not?)

Prepared Mesolithic Starter


  • 1 packet direct-set Mesolithic starter
  • 1 quart skim milk
  • 1 quart canning jar

To make a prepared mesophilic starter for the first time, you need a direct-set starter.

I sacrificed one of the five I had bought in order to make a bunch of prepared.


1. Sterilize the 1-quart canning jar by placing the jar and the lid (not the band) in boiling water for 5 minutes.

2. Cool jar and pour in skim milk, leaving a 1/2-in of head space (the whole quart of milk won’t fit in). Tightly cover with sterilized lid.

3.  Put the jar in the boiling water canner, making sure 1/4 in. of water covers the top of the jar.

4. Bring water to a boil, and let boil for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the jar from the boiling water and let cool to 72F.  This will take awhile!

6. “Innoculate” the milk by putting in the direct-set starter.  Uncover the milk in the jar, pour in the starter, and close the jar up quickly. Shake around to mix the starter into it.

7.  Place the jar in a place that’s 72F for 15-24 hours (16 hours is what my book says it normally takes).

8. When the starter is finished, it’ll look like yogurt and will separate from the sides of the jar.  If you taste it, it’ll taste slightly acidic and a little sickeningly sweet.

9. Once it’s finished, chill right away.  If you’re not planning to use all that starter within 3 days, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Each cube = 1 ounce of starter and to make cheese (like cream cheese) you usually need 4 ounces.

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