I recently stumbled upon a rather simple recipe on Offbeat Home for making your own cheese using nothing but whole milk, lemon juice, and a bit of cheesecloth. Awesome!
So, I rounded up the required ingredients (as it was, it worked out perfectly, as I required lemon zest, but not the juice, for Ukranian Easter bread for Sydnie’s class “Foods From Other Countries” party this week. The bread recipe also calls for three cups of whole milk, so everything got used between the two recipes).
I started with 8 cups of whole milk, in a pot. I heated it on high, stirring constantly, until it started to boil. Once it began to bubble, and threatened to boil over, I turned the heat off and continued stirring until pretty much all of the froth was gone. Then I added about three tablespoons of lemon juice, a little at a time, still stirring.
When the milk starts to look curdled, you know things are going right!
What you’re seeing are the curds separating from the whey. It may not look like there are many curds, and they don’t separate in big chunks, but tiny “granuals”. Just think back to the time you mixed that paralyz r incorrectly in high school and it ended up curdling. Like that, except this time you WANT it to happen.
While you let the mixture cool, line a strainer with cheesecloth (or some other porous fabric) and then after a time, pour the curds and whey through the strainer. I strained it into a big measuring cup, in order to save the whey for other recipes, but you don’t have to. Just seemed like a waste to me. Pour a little of the leftover in your pets dish to improve their coat, or use it in baking, there are lots of recipes if you look.
Once you’ve poured it all through, let the curds sit and drain for a while, and then you can gather the ends of the cheesecloth up and twist them, so the cheese curds come together in a ball. Squeese out more of the whey very gently. This is why it’s not a bad idea to let the mixture cool before straining, otherwise it will be too hot for handling.
Once you get most of the whey out, you can leave it to drain further. I just pushed it into the bottom of the strainer, put a round plastic lid on top, and then weighed it down. Some people like to form theirs into a ball, and hang it to drip drain. etc. Whatever works for you. Just keep it in the fridge.
After it drains for at least half an hour, turn it over, and press the other side, so that it drains evenly. Don’t fret if it seems crumbly. Let it sit overnight with weight on it, and it will all hold together by morning. After it’s liquid-free, you can sprinkle it with salt, or pepper, or whatever other spices you like, and then wrap it up and leave it in the fridge. You can use it the following day, or within a week.
This mild-tasting cheese it non-melting, which means you can grill it, sear it, cube it up in curry, slice it for sandwiches, whatever you want! It has a consistency somewhat like cream cheese, or tofu.
290. Make cheese from scratch