Monday, January 25, 2016

Making Cheese. From Scratch. With Things In Your Kitchen.

A few times during the last challenge I experimented with making cheese out of milk on the ragged edge.  Since then I have done a little more experimenting, and here are my results.

Ingredients: Old milk, vinegar, salt.

I used whole milk and waited until it had expired by 8 days, never having opened it.  I had previously used partial gallons that were near spoilage, but in this case I wanted to determine the yield on 1 gallon to accurately calculate the yield.

For 1 gallon of milk, add 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar.  Add salt too, I don't know how much becuase I didn't add enough.

Put it in a pot. Stir it for a while.  No, just keep stirring.  I promise it will eventually turn into cheese.

See? There it is getting all clumpy.  When the background fluid (the whey) looks pretty clear you're done stirring.

Now dump it into a collander lined with cheese cloth.  drain as much whey off as you can.

Tie the bundle, cover it with a plate and put a weight on top.  I used a pizza tray with holes in the bottom and my SFS Hammer of Victory as the weight. 

A few hours later (I think I left it for 2 or 3) you have a very crumbly cheese.  Yield on 1 gallon of whole milk was about 17oz. 

Sure, you could age it for weeks in optimal conditions, or you could just build a smoker and chuck it in.  I had previously smoked some queso fresco I bought in the store and knew it would work well.

Raw cheese goes in 

Smoked cheese comes out.

It should have come out better but it was 20 degrees out with a driving wind when I put the smoker outside, and the chamber was a little too cool to melt it consistently.  I ended up

How does it taste? Not salty enough.  I think I only added a few tablespoons to the gallon so if you're trying yourself go from there.

Was it a good value?  No.  Shopping at the store the other day, 8oz blocks of cheese were on sale for $1.69.  The milk was $2.89/gal and yielded about a pound, so that 's 49c for the labor, fuel, and cheese cloth.  I would do this again with milk about to expire or to say I made cheese but not because of the savings over store bought product.

Oh, and here's a video of the pot close to the end.  Riveting, I know!

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