Fermenting follies III: requirement for a carrot cake

I have to admit, when I decided to make Elana’s cookies, I actually had in mind to do (again) her carrot cake. I’ve already said why carrot cake holds a special place in my heart, and therefore it will be one of the recipes I write the most about.
But not poetic waxing! Ways to perfect it! I’ll be honest – before I moved to the States I would consume it just as a pound cake, without frosting or anything else, just carrot deliciousness and milk. However, just like my dear friend Nancy said, you cannot have carrot cake without cream cheese frosting, and after having tried Bill and Haley’s Ginger and Cream cheese frosting, I could not agree more. However, I am wary of what stores call Cream cheese because it is usually a concoction of chemicals and maybe milk, so I decided to look into Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions and see what she said about Cream Cheese

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It turns out that she has a recipe for whey – to be used as an inoculator in lots and lots of her recipes – and cream cheese is a by product of it. Now, before I burn in the fire of a thousand suns, the internet tells me that technically it is not cream cheese (you’d need to start with cream for that) but rather “yoghurt cheese”. I am a bit confused about it, since I started with full fat milk and buttermilk cultures, not yoghurt cultures, but I am not expert in the subject. And yes, I reused one of my old pictures because I forgot to take a picture of the actual bottle.
Basically, yeah… just make the same preparations that were done for the buttermilk but instead of waiting one day, wait until the thing fully separates… which in my case didn’t. It clabbered, almost immediately, but after five days (I started the cultures Sunday, and decided to move with the project Friday) I had basically an even thicker buttermilk, and though you could see the whey it was very little and easily dissolved back into the milk.
But I didn’t give up! I took out a large pitcher and strained the thing. I tried to use coffee filters – mistake. The solution won’t filter. So just good old cheesecloth and wire strainers.
Around 24 hrs later, I finally had two phases perfectly separated – a creamy, if not exactly completely solid cheese, and a milky, watery homogeneous solution of something I believed was whey.

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I was half excited (I had cream cheese!) and half dissappointed (was the whey useless?) so I went immediately to the interwebz and read and read and read about whey. And I finally found from Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist that sometimes the separation doesn’t occur fully. As a matter of fact, I think I may have obtained Curds and Whey

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So instead of moving on immediately onto the next fermenting project or throwing it all I left it to settle. And now I have my whey. I don’t know if I’ll get to the curds though, it’s a lot of whey!

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