|The end product is like a bit like a Queso blanco that is not salty|
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When my husband and I sold the first farm we built up here, I was interested to hear what the new owner would do with the narrow disaster supply room we had built in the finished lower level there. She proudly reported to me that it would be the "cheese storage room". This was something I had not considered. She planned to use our barn to house goats, milk them and make goat cheese. The Disaster Supply Room with shelves on three sides of the room would be an excellent cool dark place for her for cheese storage.
I have never made cheese. In all honesty, by the time I finish taking care of alpacas, horses, chickens, ducks, and dogs, including their immunizations, grooming and bathing, I am almost too tired to cook a meal, and this is with my husband helping. As intrigued as I am by making cheese, I am stuck gently washing tons of brown eggs.
I came across this recipe for making cheese using powdered milk in several places, and this has an appeal for many of us. I now buy dry milk from Augason Farms in a freeze dried #10 can and so I don't have powdered milk to use up quite so often, but for those of us who do, this style of cheesemaking could help to constructively use up powdered dry milk before its expiration.
This is not only a great way to recycle your aging powdered milk, but a great homeschooler activity for almost all ages, using adult supervision for the younger ones.
Three cups of powdered milk
Six cups of water
One half cup plain white vinegar or one half cup lemon juice
A collander with a large pot beneath it
One pan with a lid
A cooking thermometer
1. Mix the powdered milk and the water in a saucepan on the stove until it dissolves.
2. Turn on the burner to a low to low medium heat. It should be hot, but must not burn. 140F
using your cooking thermometer is right. (You can use a double-boiler if you fear scorching the mixture)
3. Then, when the mixture is good and hot. add EITHER Four tablespoons of lemon juice or pure white vinegar to the pot. You will immediately see the curds separate from the whey. (You can see I really enjoyed science experiments, more than cooking in my youth.)
4. Continue cooking as more curds will separate from the whey as you do. Some references say that you can add a bit more lemon juice or vinegar as a catalyst to accelerate this process if you wish. Cook until the curds are clearly defined from the whey liquid. (Which might be another five minutes.) Don't overcook or the curds will be tough.
5. Then place your cheesecloth or a very clean cloth, if you don't have cheesecloth, over your collander. Place a large pot under your collander. Pour the mixture into the collander, catching the curds in the cheesecloth, and the whey liquid below.
6. Use your sweet whey liquid in cooking a casserole tonight. (I try not to waste anything.) Great with egg noodles. (The whey liquid can be used in cooking other things also.)
7. Then bring the ends of your cheesecloth up, twist the top of the cloth and press out all the liquid you can. Then remove the cheese, knead it and fashion it into a gentle round block. At this point you can shake a little salt on it, or lite salt (if you need potassium but not sodium) Others have also added finely chopped spinach or herbs.
8. If you use lemon juice rather than vinegar, and double the lemon juice this recipe can be used in cannolis, or in cheesecake, or other delicacies which require cheese.
9. Once you've done this a couple of times, it becomes quick, easy, and foolproof. I had to do this a couple of times before it worked well. This is called a paneer cheese. It can be used plain in lasagna, one of my favorite foods.
This IS a low fat cheese. You can add a little fat, if you need to, by placing a teaspoon of olive oil in the mixture at the end while you are kneading and shaping your cheese.
If you would like to try your hand at ricotta:
An excellent website generally:
Ah, the power of cheese....
For those who are interested in a quick cottage cheese recipe, I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds interesting:
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007
Inactive Prep Time:
about 2 cups
1 gallon pasteurized skim milk
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup half-and half-or heavy cream
Pour the skim milk into a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat to 120 degrees F. Remove from the heat and gently pour in the vinegar. Stir slowly for 1 to 2 minutes. The curd will separate from the whey. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a colander lined with a tea towel and allow to sit and drain for 5 minutes. Gather up the edges of the cloth and rinse under cold water for 3 to 5 minutes or until the curd is completely cooled, squeezing and moving the mixture the whole time. Once cooled, squeeze as dry as possible and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine, breaking up the curd into bite-size pieces as you go. If ready to serve immediately, stir in the half-and-half or heavy cream. If not, transfer to a sealable container and place in the refrigerator. Add the half and half or heavy cream just prior to serving.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_36973_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback
If we keep this up, I might never need to go to the store again.