Making Cheese Easy
(Page 4 of 5)
In large pot or kettle, heat milk over low heat until it reaches 86°F (pretty near room temperature, so start slow). Mix rennet and water. Stir in buttermilk and rennet mixture; remove from heat.
Cover pot with cheesecloth to keep dust out and allow air flow through.
Leave to sit in warm location until milk has clabbered – 16 to 24 hours if you have used pasteurized milk and buttermilk or yogurt as your activator; it will take less time if you have used rennet. Do not jiggle the pan during this process as it may break the curds.
As soon as the curd (solid) has separated from the whey (liquid), use a long stainless steel knife to “cut” the curd into 1- to 2-inch cubes. This will allow more whey to separate out.
Heat curds and whey slowly in double boiler until they reach 115°F; hold at this temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally but gently. Pour into cheesecloth-lined colander set into bowl and allow whey to drip out.
After 20 minutes, lift 4 corners of cheesecloth and tie them up. Hang bagged curds over bowl for 4 to 5 hours until finished dripping. If you like, you may then rinse curds again with cool water to leach out any acid flavor. Drain again and, if desired, add cream and non-iodized salt to taste.
(requires no cooking)
1 gallon milk or cream
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
1/2 rennet tablet dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
Add buttermilk and rennet mixture to milk. Mix well, stirring approximately 10 minutes or until milk begins to clabber. Cover and keep at 70-80°F until whey separates from curd (up to 15 hours). Do not jiggle during this process.
Line colander with several layers of wet cheesecloth and set in bowl. Slice clabbered milk into 1-inch cubes; pour into colander. Let drip for several minutes.
Lift cheesecloth by 4 corners and tie together to form bag. Hang over bowl to drip until solid but gelatinous mass remains (8-10 hours or overnight). If the weather is warm, put the bag in a colander set into a bowl and place in the refrigerator. Squeeze bag occasionally. If necessary, change cheesecloth when it gets plugged.
As soon as cheese is desired consistency, pour from cheesecloth into bowl. Salt to taste (if desired), starting with 1/4 teaspoon. Some prefer no salt, though adding it will increase the cheese’s storage time. Pack into small bowls or wrap in greased paper and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
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