What you need to start.
Three bowls – Large, medium and small. Wooden spoon/ Cheese cloth or open weave cloth / Sieve / Thermometer/ Milk / Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C Powder) or lemons or Citric Acid. This recipe is made using Vitamin C Powder as it is always available in the pantry.
Glass bowl / Salt
Before you start, please make sure all your items are clean. Milk contaminates easily and this will spoil your cheese. I recommend you set up your work space first as every thing is very hot.
Step one: Pour 2 litres of milk into a saucepan and heat the milk to 75 degrees.
Stir the milk occasionally and gently. When it has reached the desired temperature hold at this heat for one minute. This pasteurises the milk. Remove from heat and let stand for one minute.
Step Two: Add one teaspoon of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C Powder) to the hot milk and gently stir it through the milk.
Note: If making cheese from fresh milk more ascorbic acid may be required. I have found that Goats milk requires half a teaspoon more than Cows milk. It averages out at, One teaspoon per two litres of milk.
As you stir the ascorbic powder through it should separate immediately and you can see the curds and whey.
If it doesn’t separate add more ascorbic acid in small quantities until you can see the whey (light green liquid) appear. Let it rest for a few minutes.
Step Three: Have a strainer suspended over a large bowl. Ladle the curds into cheese cloth, if you have some, if not, a soup bag, or open weave cloth will do just fine. Gently add the curds allowing the whey to run into the bowl beneath. Don’t pour the whey down the sink! Keep it and cook your pasta in it or feed it to your animals or put it in your compost bin.
When all the curds are collected tie the cheese cloth up and suspend it over another bowl to allow the rest of the whey to drain out. This should take about an hour.
Step Four: Remove cheese from cloth and add one teaspoon of salt to the cheese and mix in well. (You can add other herbs and spices at this stage, lemon pepper is lovely added at this stage, but try it plain first then you can be creative with the next batch.) Transfer into a glass bowl and press the cheese down with a fork. Cover snuggly with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Step Five: Good Morning! Turn cheese out onto a platter and sprinkle with fresh herbs or leave as is and serve with hot toast. A couple of turns of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy! Best consumed within three days, but is still very nice after one week.
Tips and Tricks: You can use any milk to make this cheese. Shop bought milk works just as well as fresh milk. I have found that different brands of milk make vastly different quantities of cheese and vary in flavour and colour. Cows milk cheese has a yellow tint where as goats milk always turns out white.
Making cheese at night before bed is a wonderful way to relax. While standing at the stove stirring the milk I have found that I get a bit sleepy. Must be the lactic acid, better than a glass of wine!
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