Tag Archives: cheese making

Whole Milk Ricotta

Ricotta is an example of a simple farmers cheese born out of necessity and invention.

Traditionally made from whey, a cheesemaking by-product, this cheese made sure nothing went to waste at the farm. If you don’t make hard cheeses you can make a delicious creamy ricotta from whole milk in one hour!

ricotta

Ingredients:

1 gallon of milk

1 tsp citric acid OR 1/4 cup vinegar of choice (to purchase citric acid or a complete ricotta kit visit our SHOP.)

1 tsp Cheese salt (To Taste)

Supplies:

Large pot- at least 6 quart

Butter Muslin (fine cheesecloth)

Thermometer

Colander

Large Slotted spoon

YIELD- 1 ½ to 2lbs. (lots!)

Here we go- fresh Ricotta is within our reach!

Step 1- Measure the citric acid into ½ cup of water and stir.

Step 2- Pour your milk into the pot, pour the citric acid solution and salt (optional) into the milk and mix thoroughly.

Step 3- Heat the milk to 180°F to 185°F (do not allow to boil over). Stir often to prevent scorching.

Step 4- As soon as the curds and whey separate (make sure there is no milky whey), turn off the heat. Allow to set undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Step 5- Line a colander with butter muslin (fine cheesecloth).

Curds, no Whey

Curds draining

Drain in the colander for 15-30 minutes, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency (you can gently expedite by lifting the muslin by the corners and rocking the curds around to unblocked cloth areas. The cheese is ready to eat in sweet or savory dishes immediately!

Step 6- Store any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Simple Mozzarella

Who doesn’t love soft, fresh cheese with sun kissed tomatoes and bright basil? Throw in some fresh bread and a little olive oil…now imagine that with your own warm, homemade mozzarella! You can make it and have it ready in an hour. Check it out!

mozzarella knot

herbed warm mozzarella tied into a simple knot

Ingredients:

1 gallon of milk

1 ½ tsp citric acid (to purchase citric acid or a complete mozzarella kit visit our SHOP.)

¼ Rennet Tablet

1 tsp cheese salt (or to taste, herbs optional)


Supplies:

Large pot- at least 6 quart

Butter Muslin (fine cheesecloth)

Colander

Large Slotted spoon

Thermometer

microwaveable bowl

Rubber gloves or large spoon


YIELD- 1 ½ lb (2 big fists)


Ok, less than an hour to fresh Mozzarella!

If you’d like to see this process in step by step photos, check out my Facebook Album. The only part you don’t see is the heating of the curds before folding and kneading, you will choose microwave or hot water bath but the curd handling is the same.

Step 1- Dissolve ¼ rennet tablet into 1 cup of cool, chlorine-free water. Stir and set aside. Wrap the remaining pieces of tablet and store in the freezer.

Step 2- Mix 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid into 1 cup of cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.

Step 3- Pour 1 gallon of milk into your pot. Pour the citric acid solution in and stir thoroughly. Heat to 90°F, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

Step 4- At 90°F slowly stir in the rennet solution with a gentle up and down motion for approximately 30 seconds. Continue to heat to 105°F (110°F if you will use the water bath).

Step 5- Your curds could already show clear signs of coagulation- curds would look like shiny yogurt, you’d see a separation between curds and whey and the curds would pull from the sides of the pot.

– If so, stir very gently for another minute and turn off the heat. Skip down to step 6.

– If the curd doesn’t look like shiny custard or yogurt but looks like clumps of melted cheese floating in yellow liquid, you’re still in good shape. Skip down to step 6.

– If you don’t see any of these signs and your whey is still milky instead of yellow, heat a little more (110°F max) while gently moving the curds around with your spoon. You are now cooking the curds and expelling whey. If you reach 110°F and still don’t see any signs, let the pot sit off the heat for 15-45 minutes. Skip down to step 6 when you have coagulation.

– If your milk did not form a curd at all, you may have some unlabeled ultra-pasteurized milk on your hands. Try another brand but follow this through- cheese has a way of working out!

Step 6- Ladle your curds into a heat-resistant bowl. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the curds for stretching later or move on to the heating and stretching steps.

Note- If you will use the “Water Bath” (no microwave) method, heat your whey to 185°F and read the following instructions in bold. For microwave instructions, continue below the bold print.

______________________________________________________________________________

No Microwave? No problem! Follow these instructions:

When your water/whey bath hits 185°F (no hotter or you’ll overcook your curds!) take the pot off the stove.

Gently shape half of your curds into a ball (as much as possible) and dip into the whey for 1-3 minutes or until your curds hit 135°F (heated to the core). Put on your rubber gloves, lift the ball of curds out of the whey and proceed with salting, stretching and shaping as detailed below in steps 11 and 12 (you may also stretch with a spoon in your heat-resistant bowl).

Repeat on all curds- more than once if necessary for a smooth ball of cheese. You may need to reheat your whey if you’re slow- remember, no hotter than 185°F! If temperamental curds don’t stretch sometimes, do not despair. Just fold, salt, and shape warm curds into balls. Practice, practice- enjoy!

___________________________________________________________________________________

Step 7- Ladle your curds into a large microwaveable bowl. Put on your rubber gloves or use a large spoon for steps 7-12. Gently hold back the curds while you pour off whey (don’t press much).

Step 8- Heat the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.

Step 9- Gently use a spoon to fold the curds over several times and evenly distribute the heat. Drain off any whey as above.

Step 10- Microwave for another 30 seconds. Drain again and knead the curd gently- try stretching. It must be 135°F to stretch properly. If it isn’t hot enough, microwave for another 30 seconds.

Step 11- Add your salt (I like 1.5 tsp or so) plus any herbs and work into the cheese by stretching and folding, stretching and folding…the more you work the curd, the firmer the cheese will be.

Step 12- Stretch the cheese until it is smooth. Shape into a ball or get creative! This mozzarella is best eaten immediately but you can store it covered. Do NOT store in water or whey or it will get slimy and disintegrate. You can however, dunk your shaped mozz into ice water for just a few minutes to retain it’s shape. Otherwise, its own heat can flatten it. Use within 1 week.

Simple Creamy Goat Cheese

Goat cheese, or as the French say it, Chèvre (shev) is a deliciously tangy addition to almost any dish and is perfect eaten simply with crusty bread or fruit.

You can now whip it up in less than an hour (plus some optional wait time) and customize it with herbs and spices for endless variations. This tangy cheese makes a wonderful treat to take to a dinner party but be careful, you’ll start getting requests!

 

Stack of chevre wheels

It's easy to customize your chevre!

 

Simple Creamy Goat Cheese 

Ingredients:

half gallon of goat milk (2 quarts)

1 tsp citric acid (to purchase citric acid or a complete goat cheese kit visit our SHOP.)

1 tsp Cheese salt (to taste)

1 tsp Herbs de Provence (optional)

Supplies:

Large pot- at least 4 quart

Butter Muslin (fine cheesecloth)

Colander

Large Slotted spoon

Cheese Molds


YIELD- About ¾ lb


Step 1- Measure the citric acid into ½ cup of water and stir.

Step 2- Pour your milk into the pot, pour the citric acid solution and salt into the milk and mix thoroughly.

 

Curds and Whey

Curds and Whey

 

Step 3- Heat the milk to 180°F-185°F (do not allow to boil). Stir often to prevent scorching. You will see coagulation (white and yellowish separations), turn off the heat.

Step 4- Allow to set undisturbed and off the heat for 10-15 minutes. Line a colander with your fine cheesecloth and gently pour or scoop your curds into the colander to drain out the whey. Once most of the whey has drained out, sprinkle in your salt and blend in gently.

 

Curds, no Whey

Curds, no Whey

 

Step 5- Mix in your herbs (or you can coat the shaped wheels later instead) and stir minimally.

Step 6- Spoon your curds into the cheese molds. Press just enough to evenly fill the molds. Place the molds on a flat pan so any extra whey can drain. Drain 10-30 minutes or to your desired consistency. If you have more cheese, drain in it the cloth for a “bag cheese.“

 

Chevre Draining in Molds

Chevre Draining in Molds

 

Step 7- Gently but firmly unmold (hold upside down and tap out) your cheeses and enjoy! If the cheese sticks, you can cut small pieces of your cloth and line the molds next time. If you don’t have molds, you can alternately just shape the cheese into a log with the help of wax paper. Cover and store in the refrigerator up to a week.

You’re not dreaming, it’s a cheese FESTIVAL!

The Wedge Cheese Festival is taking place in Portland, OR on October 3, 2009! How amazing is that?

Build your own grilled cheese sandwich!

Build your own grilled cheese sandwich!

Dozens of cheesemakers from the Pacific Northwest will
gather (with samples no doubt!), seminars will be offered, there will be
a build your own grilled cheese sandwich station and yours truly will
lead a Queso Blanco demo at 11am. Don’t miss it!

Find cheese kits and cheese making supplies in Portland stores now!

Good news! If you’re in Portland, you can purchase a kit at these Portland, Oregon stores. I will keep adding as the list grows. If you own a store or want to suggest one, I’d love to hear about it. Enjoy and always come back for updates on the kits etc. thanks!

 is a cute kit like this in your future?

is a cute kit like this in your future?

Stores:

http://www.albertagrocery.coop/ (all 3 kits- moz/ricotta, paneer/queso blanco, fresh goat cheese)

http://www.urbanfarmstore.com/ (moz/ricotta kit by June 5)

cheese talk on the radio!

Hello cheesemakers! Just wanted to let you know something kind of funny, I’m going to be interviewed about cheese making and my cheese kits on a small Internet radio station this Thursday, May 21. It’ll be a show called Chocolate Covered Bacon through http://artisanshoppe.com/, 3pm Pacific Time, 6pm Eastern Time.

Click install or listen live depending on your set-up and you should be good. It won’t be riveting or anything but it’s kinda cool especially if any of you want to promote your handmade goods too. They’re all about artisans of all kinds. Tell them I sent you!

Also, I’d love to hear from those of you who have already received and tried your cheese kits. Please post on this blog or email me with questions, ideas, feedback, testimonials etc. Thanks and happy cheese making,

Are you a Cheese Nerd? The basic stages of making fresh cheese (in this case for easy microwave mozzarella)

The joy that these photos bring me makes me feel like such a cheese nerd. The milk, curds, the whey, the cutting, the ladling, the coagulation, the end result. Oooooh.

note: My apologies for the lack of photos between curds and finished mozzarella knot. I was alone in the kitchen and can’t exactly take photos while stretching and shaping hot mozzarella. I will enlist a photographer soon and add those photos but for now, know that yes, there are steps in between. Unless you have a special microwave oven, you’ll have to do some work before it turns into the finished product. These were just photos to nerd out on, not a full instructional. See my recipes soon though!

Meanwhile, buttermilk cheese is apparently a Jewish thing? Who knew?!

I’ve been curious about the fact that buttermilk used to be a home staple but somehow has fallen out of favor. I’ve decided to try using it in many ways…pancakes, biscuits, waffles and of course cheese!!

Much to my excitement, it turns out that cultured buttermilk can be used as a mesophilic starter in cheese-making. More info. on that later.

As I searched for recipes I ran across this simple recipe that calls for baking buttermilk for a unique cheese- it sounded intriguingly different so I had to try it! Soooo easy and delicious.

Buttermilk Cheese (Tvarog) (D, TNT)
Source: “MealLeaniYUMM!” by Norene Gilletz
Yield: Approximately 2 cups

2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk

Place 2 litres (quarts) of buttermilk in a large covered ovenproof casserole. (I use a Corning Ware casserole.) Place in a preheated 375ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes. It will separate into curds and whey.

Pour warm liquid into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Tie ends of cheesecloth and let drain for several hours. (Hang it over the faucet of the sink; put a bowl underneath to catch the whey, which can be used to replace sour milk or buttermilk in baking.) For a firmer cheese, squeeze out most of the liquid. Wrap well and refrigerate. It will keep about a week.

Here it is draining…
bag o curds

The cheese was super creamy and tangy, kind of like a mix between cream cheese and sour cream. Next time I will try to make a cheesecake out of it. The yield was great!

Messing with Mozzarella

Ever since I made my first easy microwave mozzarella my mad scientist little brain has been cooking up variations. Mozzarella is delicious and very useful as is but besides that I can never seem to leave well enough alone, it’s not really a savory, snacking cheese in my opinion. I did however see its potential, with some additions.

moz knot

moz knot

So today I made a gallon batch, split the results in two, added dried jalapeno flakes and red pepper flakes to one bowl (fresh and pungent, bought at Limbo Inc., sorry they don’t have a website but they are at SE 39th and Holgate in Portland, OR- HUGE selection of dried herbs, spices as well as some local produce) and I added mixed herbs to the other (I believe it’s tarragon, parsley, dill and basil; along with cheese salt of course) and both varieties turned out so yummy.

Now they’re dangerously snacky! Yum, I could really eat the entire pound and a half right now. So is it good or bad that I experimented? Oh boy. Must. Exercise. Control.

One motivation that helps me not eat the entire batch now is that I want to see how the flavors change/improve/intensify with some time to infuse the cheese thoroughly. moz ball

Here are the end results and a photo of my lunch. Try some crazy variations yourself, I won’t tell Italy if you don’t.

Mozzarella Tasting

Mozzarella Tasting

Forgot to tell you a have a fresh batch of Feta curing!

Lovely giant jar of February Feta

Lovely giant jar of February Feta


Unless I make some sort of fancy cheese schedule, I will just let you know about the cheeses I’m making and their different stages/developments like this. So, I made a huge batch of raw cow milk Feta in early Feb. (if you’re in Portland, I get it at Kookoolan Farms) It’s supposed to age 2-3 months in brine. So far so good. I do fear daily that I will open the fridge to find a jar of green sludge but luckily, it still just looks like feta in brine (water that has been saturated with salt). If all goes as planned, I’ll let you know more about it when I taste it in April and May. Here are some pics of the giant jar…it is so gratifying to see it in the fridge every day!
Creepy science project view of Feta

Creepy science project view of Feta