Something many have been asking me about is how they can make a simple cheese at home. Today while i was making a new batch I decided to take pictures of the process so I could share it here with you all! This recipe is super easy and is for basic cheese which you can season any way you like. For this recipe you will need one gallon ( 16 cups ) of milk. We use goat's milk of course but cows milk will work as well. If using store bought milk, be sure to get either whole milk ot something with a good percentage of fat still in it or you won't get much cheese from this process. You will also need a 1/2 cup of either vinegar or lemon juice. From experience I now know that apple cider vinegar works best but you can find what works best for you. You will also need some salt or seasoning that you like if you plan to make a flavoured cheese.
You will need a pot big enough to hold the 16 cups of milk that will not overflow when it comes to a boil. A whisk or large spoon is also needed.
Apple Cider vinegar can be purchased at any grocery store. You will need a large bowl, a colander and some muslin. Standard cheesecloth is easy to find but the holes are large meaning you will lose a lot of your cheese curds. Put the muslin lined cloth in the colander and then place both in the large bowl. The bowl is to catch and hold onto your whey. The whey can be used through further processing to make ricotta cheese or can be used in stews and soups.
Bring the milk to a slow boil. Stir it CONSTANTLY so it does not burn! You must remain alert as milk begins to boil very suddenly! You will notice the milk beginning to thicken as it gets close to a boil.
Once the milk has come to a boil, remove from the heat and slowly stir in the apple cider vinegar (or other acid). Continue to stir slowly to allow the curds to being forming.
You will notice large curds forming within moments of adding the vinegar. Continue to stir slowly for 3-5 minutes to allow for all the milk protein to curd. If you are using a whisk like I did - switch to a spoon as the curds will become stuck :o)
After a few minutes of stirring you should have a pot full of curds and whey!
(Watch out for that spider :o)
Pour the curds and whey into the cloth lined colander slowly. Allow a moment for most of the whey to drain away. I then place the colander back into the pot I boiled the milk in. The whey can now be saved to use later or disposed of - depending on your intentions.
Here you see the plain cheese curds. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt (or regular salt) into the curd and gentlystir with a spoon. Be careful not to rip the cloth!
To drain the cheese, you can either twist and hang the cheese for an hour or two OR, if you're impatient like I am, you can twist the cloth closed and squish the remaining fluid out with a plate or heavy object - like your hand! :o)
Be careful - the cheese curds are very hot!
Once the cheese is drained you can either chill and serve plain or try experimenting with various spices. Try using garlic, onion or dill! So far I really enjoy making a roasted garlic red pepper cheese. Always season to taste.
Once you have seasoned your cheese, press it into a container to chill. You can eat your cheese immediately but it does taste better if it is allowed to age for a few days. Cut it up and enjoy on crackers or just eat it alone or in your favourite recipes! The important part is that you just made your very own cheese! Enjoy and have fun with it!
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