I was making cheese today,
a simple cheese, as we are broke this time of the month.
I want to share it with you to encourage you to begin to empower yourself with using whole food as medicine, as a way to nurture. Even if you can’t get raw milk right now, you can start making cheese by hand. It is much better for you and your family.
Once you try it, you will be surprised that you didn’t try earlier.
Specialty cheeses sell for over a dollar an ounce, so for the cost of a gallon of store bought milk, plus come apple cider, you can make a block of cheese that weighs a pound (or more) for a third of the cost.
Plus, I will show you how to make ricotta with the separated whey.
Here are all of the supplies –
- 1 gallon of milk, your choice, plus at least another 1/4c. to add to each gallon of left over whey
- one large pot, stainless steel or ceramic as they don’t cause milk to react
- butter muslin cloth is best, but cheese cloth from Wal-mart works fine
- metal, slotted spoon (no plastic, as it can carry bacteria)
- dried or fresh herbs, spices – any that you like. This cheese at the bottom has 1 TBL. curry, 1 TBL. black pepper, a few leaves of basil, and several twigs of thyme and rosemary
- 3 TBL. of sea salt, more of less to taste
- candy thermometer
- some type of container with holes or cheese mold
- apple cider vinegar
- calcium choloride can be added in the future, if you decide to purchase it. Very helpful in increasing curds, which is what will become the cheese.
Take a gallon of carton milk(or any fresh milk), and put it in a stainless steel or ceramic pot. Put on medium heat. (If you decide to purchase calcium chloride, now is the time to add 1/4 t. per gallon of milk, http://www.cheesemaking.com/CalciumChloride.html or http://www.caprinesupply.com/catalogsearch/result/index/?p=2&q=cheese+supplies for ideas)
Be sure to have a candy thermometer, as you want the milk to reach 180 degrees F.
Stir with a metal , slotted spoon, every few minutes so milk doesn’t scorch.
It will take about twenty minutes, so you may need to start on low, then slowly turn up heat. Pay attention to make sure milk does not burn. Once at 180, take off of the heat, and stir in the 1/4c. of apple cider vinegar per gallon of milk. This is the only type of vinegar that will work.
Theest choice for fresh is to tie them up in cheese cloth for easy removal later, if you have time. I just threw mine in. Food regs say that fresh herbs cannot be used for selling, so only use fresh herbs if you will eat the cheese immediately.( If you use dried herbs, do not add them until the milk curds are being drained.) I will then slowly stir the vinegar around and around, for about three or four minutes, and then cover with the butter muslin and go away for about an hour, and then the curds should be nicely formed and sunk down in the whey, or left over milk.
If you have time, now is when you would make the ricotta. Put your butter muslin into the colinder, spread out and hanging over the sides so it can trap the curds safely inside the colinder. You would then put another clean pot in the sink, and then place the colinder on top, so as you pour the curds in the whey will be captured below. Once the curds are down to a slow drip, go ahead and take the whey pot and put it on the stove on low. You don’t want the whey to get cold. The curds can drain a little longer in the sink.
If you want to use dried herbs, here is where I would add them, (or fresh chopped herbs), about a TBL. each of your choice.
You will then sprinkle the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, etc. into the curds, and stir around with the slotted spoon, and just let them drain for about 30 minutes, folding the sides of the cloth over the top of the curds for hygiene.
Ricotta will need to get to 191 F, so use a double boiler, or put a pot inside of another pot with water so it won’t scorch. Measure whey first, so you can see how much you have, as you will add 1/4 c. of regular cow milk to each gallon of whey that was left over after the whey reaches a temp of 190 F.
Turn down the burner to low just long enough to add your cold cow milk, stirring it in, and continue stirring as you return the heat back up to 190 F, using your candy thermometer to check. The protein will separate and rise, and this is what you begin to draw out with a spoon as the protein continues to separate. When it reaches 190 again, take off heat, and drain with another cloth, so you can capture all of the flecks. This can drain for about 10 minutes, and then you can scrape it into your tupper ware of other container, adding salt to taste, and then use as you wish.
and hang from the sink, and let it knit together, and get drier, about three hours. This will create a firm cheese ball. Once this sets up, you can then put the ball in a plastic fruit container, like the ones blueberries, strawberries or cherry tomatoes come in as it has holes for drainage. I have a cheese mold, so I put the ball, still wrapped up, in the mold, and mashed the cheese down to make a flat, solid block. You can also use a small saucer to push the cheese evenly and firmly into your makeshift cheese mold (anything with holes for draining will do).
Now, you may turn it over on a dish and enjoy! Sometimes we will roll in a mixture of ground peppercorns, or more herbs and a salt mixture – experiment!