May 27, 2007
For a long time, I have had a dream about making my own cheese. It all started with an article in Food and Wine about a woman's experience (slowing down and) making cheese. I mean, if I make my own jam, and E makes her own bread, and we grow our own herbs, so why not make our own cheese?
What stopped me was a) not having the right equipment, b) not having a big enough kitchen to fit the new equipment, and c)I thought we needed to make it with raw milk. (I'm still undecided as to whether the benefits of raw milk outweigh the benefits of pastuerization, but I don't drink it because its just so damn hard to get.) All my difficulties have recently been washed away by the following (marvelous) recipie from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen:
makes about 3/4 cup
1 quart whole milk
1 lemon, juiced
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
Prepare a colander in the sink and line it with cheesecloth, folded over several times so it's several layers thick.
Heat the milk slowly, stirring periodically to keep it from scorching. Heat until it hits 200ºF on a thermometer and stir in the lemon juice.
The milk will instantly curdle. Turn off the heat and let the milk sit for several minutes. Pour it into the colander lined with cheesecloth - the whey will run away immediately.
When the cheese has cooled a bit squeeze it in a ball and hang it over the sink faucet to drain. Let it drain for about an hour then stir in some salt, if desired, and refrigerate. This will keep for several days in the fridge; it can also be frozen.
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OK, so, perhaps it's a little crazy to make your own cheese on a regular occasion--but with the season of farmer's markets (and lots of fresh farm milk) and plenty of reasons to use something like ricotta (herbs and tomatoes!)--why not join the heat instead of trying to beat it, and make some cheese!