Saturday, January 22, 2011

So cheesey...

Last fall, I signed up for a cheese class at Prairieland Herbs with my friend Amy. I was a little apprehensive, wasn't making cheese hard? I mean, all that measuring and temperatures and rennet? Wasn't rennet hard to get and didn't rennet fail sometimes and bye bye milk?
Weeeelll, this cheese class cleared up all those myths and more!
Miss Effie (aka Cathy Lafrenz) is a great teacher, no pressure, and lots of fun. Plus she knits, quilts, and spins and basically if its DIY, she's all over it!

I used Picket Fences whole milk in class and made a luscious ball of cheese. I used 1 % this time, and made a nice lowfat ball of cheese. So use the milk your diet will allow.

(use an instant read thermometer, trust me)

Heat one gallon of milk, when it reaches 55 degrees,
add 1 1/2 tsp citric acid crystals dissolved in 1/2 c non-chlorinated water.
It will begin to curdle. (Photo 1)

Heat it a bit more, to 90 degrees, then add 1/4 tsp liquid rennet (a coagulating agent, from animal or vegetable source), mixed with 1/4 c cool non-chlorinated water, and continue to cook to 100-105 degrees, it will curdle even more, and begin to separate, that watery liquid is the whey. Be sure to check the temp of the whey too, not just the curds.(Photo 2)

When it reaches 100-105 degrees, turn off the heat and wait until it begins to solidify and pull away from the sides, about 5-15 minutes, or more, your experience may vary dependent on the milk and the rennet and any other unseen things that are out to get you that day.
When he whey is clear (if the whey is milky, keep waiting until it clears) the curds will be shiny, thick, clumpy clods then pour your curds gently into a colander and drain. You may choose to save the whey to use in baked goods, soups, it does still contain many nutrients.
Drain your cheese well, gently pressing out all the whey. (Photo 3)
Place the curds into a microwaveable bowl and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute on high, take it out and squeeze out more whey and stretch it. Use a wooden spoon as its hot, or use your hands if you like pain. Heat it again for 35 seconds on high, and repeat the squeezing and stretching. Do that one more time. Now is the time to add some sea salt if you choose, just sprinkle and knead it in.(Photo 4)
As you stretch and knead, begin to smooth it into a ball, if it breaks insteads of stretches, reheat for 35 seconds again.
When it looks is smooth and shiny and feels like a solid ball of cheese, its done! (Photo 5)

I highly encourage you to take a class, I'm not sure I would have been successful the first time on my own if I hadn't taken a class. But if you don't have access to a teacher or a class, then just go for it. Use whole milk for your first time, but don't use ULTRA pasturized, I'm told it won't work. Whole milk will give you a lovely product, exactly what you want the first time out.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry



I make a bunch every week My Grand kids really like it.I use 2% milk and really love it on pizza. I have also started to make fromage blanc it is a soft white cheese some what like cream cheese.

Carol............. said...

Doesn't sound so hard..I'll give it a try..thanks for posting the recipe.