Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Homemade Farmers Cheese


     Well the snow arrived, as did the freezing cold weather.  I mean, FREEZING.  Record low temperatures hit our town and the city was placed under a travel warning-(even though there were still plenty of idiots out there trying to drive).  We are currently on day 3 of schools being closed and even though the driving ban was finally lifted yesterday morning, a lot of people still have cars that are completely stuck or snowed in (like me) and we're all starting to experience a little bit of cabin fever.

First tree casualty
     Okay, maybe not a little bit.  People are bored out of their minds and getting a little stir crazy.  And I don't blame them one bit, I have been in the same boat myself.  Who know if I was actually planning on going any place or do anything special, it's just the fact that the weather has taken the choice out of my hands that has me going a little nuts. So what doesn't any food loving person do when their stuck inside, they cook!  At least I do.  It was a great way to get to do some recipe testing for upcoming classes and just having fun in general in the kitchen.
Second Tree Casualty
        One thing that I did decide to do was make cheese!  It's something I've always wanted to try making, and we had attempted it in one of my classes in culinary school, but literally not one single groups cheese turned out.  Something with the rennet, anyway ever since I've been waiting to try and make it again-and successfully. Finally gave it a go with this snowed in weather.   I didn't go all crazy in the cheese making since I am still a beginner, I just wanted a simple farmers cheese.  It was very easy to make and I'm really excited to play around with different flavors of cheese to make later! 

You will need: 1 gallon whole milk, 1 cup white vinegar, 4 tsp salt
Add milk and salt to stainless steel pot and heat to 190 degrees F.

When you've reached temp, immediately add in vinegar and stir in completely. 
Let set for 20-30 minutes, so milk can completely curd.
Drain in cheesecloth lined colander or strainer.
I pressed as much of the whey out as I could but I also let it hang for about 20-30 minutes off the side of the pot so that I could get as much of the moisture.
Which is why the cheese has all the funky lines on it from the cheesecloth.  This cheese would be good to crumble over a salad, like you might with feta.  Or as a spread on baguette slices.

     So, this is just the beginning.  Looking forward to flavoring the cheese up a bit and making a herb cheese, or jalapeno cheese-add chopped nuts.  The possibilities are endless and I'm getting excited just thinking about it.  Next after that is making ricotta cheese.  Then....who knows, mozzarella looks fun to make!  I think with all this cheese though, we're definitely going to need some wine!  What about wine stumping, I love Lucy style.  At the Blizzard party last night I had a friend say we needed to do this, and I must say the idea is pretty tempting......