Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Cheese Whizard

Hi Marg,

Westie and I made cheese! We were idly chatting about it and the next day he came home with half a gallon of whole milk. He'd researched recipes on the web, reviewed blogs, weighed the levels of complexity of different varieties, quizzed his friends and decided on Queso Bianco. Chosen bc it's easy and flexible. His friend said Monterey Jack was easy to make but the recipe required holding it at 90 degrees for 10 minutes and then raising the temp 2 degrees a minute for 8 minutes. Right. His friend doesn't know Jack, I'm thinking.

It was easy and tasted great. Here's what you need - milk, vinegar, salt, cheesecloth.

Here's what you do. Heat half a gallon of milk to just below a simmer and add 3T white vinegar.

Stir, bring to a simmer and continue to stir for 2 or 3 minutes. It starts to make curds pretty quickly.

Strain it in a colander lined with cheesecloth.

We strained it into a bowl bc we thought we might want to do something with the whey. The internet suggested that we could feed it to chickens, pigs or dogs, wash our hair with it, make soup with it, replace the liquid in a bread recipe with it, cook pasta in it, water the plants with it, make lemonade with it, or freeze it do any of these things later. Since it tasted like skim milk with vinegar in it we threw it out.

Sprinkle it with salt, gather it up into a ball and hang it for a few hours to drain.

Knock it down and have a taste.

Here's what we learned. You need to add the salt to the pot and mix it in. Imagine cinnamon rolls, but with the cinnamon sugar being a layer of salt. And then imagine putting it on a salty cracker. Parts of it were excellent, in spite of this. If you want to make a drier brick, press the ball under a weight while its still fresh. You can't do it once it's hung for hours. Rigamortis, I suppose. Also, if you want to make something you've never ever thought of making and have fun doing it, you should invite Westie to visit.

Love, Elise

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