Cheese – it’s mysterious, delicious and intimidating! But, it doesn’t have to be, intimidating that is: forget the cultures, rennet or dark caves. If you’re a newbie cheese maker, this is a great recipe for getting your feet wet and has lots of room for creativity!
I hadn’t set out to make cheese yesterday morning, but my broken refrigerator decided it would be a good idea to curdle the milk i’d intended to become yogurt. It was still sweet, but heating to yogurt temp was just separating the curds from the whey – which is the first step to making cheese! So, i went for it. Farmer’s cheese is a fairly bland cheese, can get too dry and crumbly and doesn’t melt…. but it can be really delicious especially when you spice it up some! I like to add finely diced garlic, lots of salt and ground hot pepper and rosemary. The combo is delicious! You’ll end up with way more whey than cheese, so if you have hogs or chickens they’ll be your best friends for a day or you can save some as a sipping drink that packs a protein punch. I always freeze a ice cube tray full of it as well to use in lacto fermentation projects. No waste!
- 1 gallon milk – raw or pasteurized, skim or whole. *Whole will make a much tastier cheese.
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (can also use white or white wine vinegar)
- T each salt and ground herbs of your choice
- 2 Large pots
- Cheesecloth or old bandanna
- Something heavy
No thermometer required! Heat your milk to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and add vinegar. The milk should begin separating/curdling right away. You want t0 fully separate the whey from the curds (whey should be yellowish clear, not milky looking). Once separating, pour the whey and curds into your colander lined with cheesecloth over another large pot (you could do this over the sink, but why waste all that useful whey??). Stir in salt and herbs to the curds, then tie up the cheesecloth with a twisting motion to press out whey. Place your ‘something heavy’ over the bundle and allow to drain. Don’t over drain or this cheese will be TOO dry. I almost always over press – do some experimenting.
Yum! This cheese makes a lovely appetizer and fries well for some extra fun. Don’t be intimidated by cheesemaking – try it out! Have fun with it!
Thanks to Self Reliance Magazine for featuring this recipe in their first print edition! You may also want to check out these books for more awesome cheese making information:
Have you made cheese before? Were you nervous your “first time?”