Following is my first attempt to help others learn to make cheese.
Since then, I have learned how to put pictures in the posts, read this and thought, "No wonder no one wants to try this!", survived Halloween, two Thanksgivings, three birthdays, Christmas, University Ward New Year's Dance ( ha! . . . more like sit!) and ignored a few other holidays that I just for the sake of survival.
I have added the pictures and would like those who feel brave, to make note of the bold faced sections, gather your equipment and ingredients and be ready to try it.
*** I use pasteurized or powdered milk (pasteurized before it is dried). If I happen to have raw milk, I pasteurize it myself. There are many pathogens around. In my opinion, it isn’t worth taking the chance using raw milk. Please use wisdom when using these milk ideas, your family’s health and safety should always come first.
What you’ll need:·
- Stainless steel bucket or pan (enamel with NO chips can also work)
- Thermometer (digital is easiest)· Stainless steel, long handled spoon
- Cheese cloth (old diapers or tea towels are too linty, definitely no terry cloth)
- Colander, SS or plastic
- Rennet tablets (Junket, in ice cream toppings section at Wally world)
- Buttermilk or yogurt with live culture· Cheese press (pics will show better than I can describe)
- Scentless soap with no additives
- Nail brush
Make sure that everything that is being used is very clean. Wash everything you can in a dishwasher if possible. Your hands need to be very clean, even under nails. Bacteria grows and you don’t want that in your cheese!
Let’s get started! This is actually pretty fun. I make up the powdered milk according to the normal recipe (2/3 cup powder per 1 quart of milk) 3 gallons of milk = 1 – 1 ½ # of cheese. If you want to cheat a little bit, you can make up the milk with up to 2X the powder and you will have a higher yield in a smaller pan. That is what I have done this time and it seems to be working OK. (It did turn out great!)
Warm the milk to 65 ° . Dissolve ½ Rennet table in cool water. When you reach temperature, stir rennet and 1/2 c. buttermilk into the mix. Cover and let stand without being movedover night. Cover with clean, lintless cloth. If you have to, put a sign on it (necessary to keep snoopy husbands & hungry kids out of it) :-) .
10 minutes to process to the curd warming stage. Multi tasking!
Next morning, after you feed family and get them out of your way, check for clean break. If you don’t have it, leave it sitting up to 12 more hours. If you get up early you can check and take about
When you get the clean break it is time to cut it into 1 “ cubes using a long SS knife. Slowly warm it in water (like a double boiler set up) until it reaches 110°. Hold for 20-30 minutes, stirring gently with hand or long handled spoon every 5 minutes. Cut any cubes that are over sized. The warming will draw the whey out of the cheese, shrinking and firming the curds. This is where you need to decide how firm you want to your curds. The firm
er they are the harder the cheese will be when you press it. If left very soft, you will have cream cheese.When it gets to the stage you want, pour it all into a cheese cloth lined colander. If you are thrifty, you can do lots of things with the whey, so collect it. I know it makes great bread. Otherideas are in old LDS or pioneer cookbooks and more than likely on the internet.
The next step is to rinse in hot water to get the “cleanest” taste. While it is still warm, sprinkle with salt and other seasonings if you would like. Mix really well. The softer the cheese, the better it mixes with the seasonings. Some of my favorites are:
I just made the best cottage cheese I have eaten in a long old time. I did warm it longer than I meant to, so I’m not sure if it will press into a block very well. If it doesn’t hold in the block, we will have yummy “squeaky cheese”. Ever had that? Great snack.
My worthy assistant, Gabriel thought it was great and kept begging for more. Unfortunately, he doesn’t handle dairy very well, so I had to bribe him with more of his rice cheese, emphasis on tried.
When I followed instructions that had me pressing the cheese with presses made out of cans, wood ends, and threaded dowels going through the middle I ha
d some interesting new taste experiences (Yuck!). All of those reacted to the acids in milk. In the meantime, the milk was absorbing all the smells and tastes from the metal and wood … none of it was good. This is the reason I specified scent
less soap with no additives, SS equipment, etc. You don’t want any of that to cling to your equipment or hands to come off into the milk. Anything the milk takes in will become much stronger as it reduces into the cheese product … even worse.Aging takes precise conditions. Temperature, humidity, and air flow are c
ritical. Any dust, spores or anything else floating in the air will make changes in the results. I plan to bring in a small under desk fridge and try it in there when I can make sure the temp will stay very stable. I will let you know how it works.