Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheese Making

I FINALLY got to make cheese!

I have had my recipe on hand literally for weeks. I had even purchased all my ingredients. I pulled everything out to attempt to make it one day, when it dawned on me I didn't have cheesecloth! Oops. A sign of an amateur! So my project got put on hold again.

We had a hard time finding the cheesecloth at the store. For weeks I couldn't find it. While Christmas shopping one afternoon I spotted some in a oddball place at the market and snatched it up. I don't even think I looked at the price tag~I literally grabbed it off the hook and tossed it in the cart. I had found it and it was going to be mine! (Lucky for me, it was only $3; if it had been too pricey I might have been rethinking my cheese making ambitions). I got that scratched off my list. But then my youngest daughter, J(1), is a milk feen and she kept drinking up all my whole milk. Trying to have whole milk on hand when I was ready was a chore.

This morning, the stars were in alignment! I had ALL my ingredients on hand, I had my cheesecloth, and I had the time.

The process of making cheese is actually very simple. It was the preparation for the recipe that was the only pain in the butt.

I found my recipe here, but I posted it as well for you for your convenience:

Iris flourish

Make Your Own Soft Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1½ cups
1quart whole milk
1cup heavy cream
4T distilled white vinegar 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine milk and cream and cook about 10 minutes or just until steam begins to rise from the surface and small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. DO NOT BOIL.
  2. Remove from heat and gently stir in the vinegar.
  3. Let sit, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. The mixture will separate into curds and whey. (Remember Miss Muffet?)
  4. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set it in a deep, medium-size bowl.
  5. Spoon the curds into the strainer; the whey will run through the cheesecloth.
  6. Discard the whey.
  7. Cover and refrigerate curds in the strainer and bowl for at least 4 hours, to continue draining. (You can also leave overnight.)
  8. Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and break it up in a small bowl.
  9. Serve plain or stir in your choice of flavor blends * (the flavor blend recipes below make enough for one batch).
  10. Line a small ramekin or vintage gelatin mold with cheesecloth and press flavored cheese into mold. (I didn't have a mold, so I just used a Tupperware bowl).
  11. Tip onto serving plate and remove cheesecloth.
  12. Gently wash cheesecloth and hang to dry for your next batch.

Iris flourish

 ~~*We tried the Garlic/Dill Blend. It was SO delicious, I recommend it.~~

Garlic/Dill Blend      

2T garlic, minced
2T fresh dill, chopped
½t salt
½t pepper

Garlic/Herb Blend

2T garlic, minced
1T fresh thyme, chopped
1T fresh rosemary, chopped
½t salt
½t pepper

Fig/Walnut Blend

½cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1cup dried figs, stemmed and finely chopped
1/3cup water
1/3cup Kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1T capers, finely chopped
2T olive oil
1T balsamic vinegar
t fresh thyme, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Toast walnuts on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes or until fragrant (watch closely; they can burn quickly).
  3. In a medium skillet, combine figs and water. Cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until water is absorbed and figs are soft.
  4. Stir in walnuts and remaining ingredients; mix well.

 Iris flourish