How to make cheese… the easy way.

My 18 month old has crazy allergy issues.  While it’s obviously annoying, it’s also a blessing in disguise in that I have been forced to prepare our meals from scratch and to carefully evaluate everything we eat.  For example, there are no frozen pizzas in our house anymore, whereas before, we’d have frozen pizza once a week or so.

One of the hardest transitions for me has been that Cam is allergic to cow milk.  Through a long, obnoxious process of trial and error, we finally found that goat milk settles well with him.  Anyway, that brings us to the main issue…  CHEESE.  Cheese is in EVERYTHING.  And I LOVE cheese.  So I was thrilled to find this recipe that explains how to make cheese.

IMPORTANT:  You can supposedly use regular milk to make this cheese, too…  just make sure you’re starting with whole or raw milk.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 gallon milk (I prefer goat)
1/4 cup lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
spices to taste

I like to start off with about a half gallon of milk, which I put in a pot to simmer.

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If you’ll notice, it looks more frothy than simmer-y…  if that made sense at all.  When it gets to that point, remove it from heat.

Then, pour 1/3 cup of either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and stir.  You should notice separation, which looks like this:
photo (8)

If you don’t see separation after a few seconds, add more vinegar or lemon juice and stir again.

Now, I don’t use cheese cloth.  I find that I lose too much good stuff when I go that route.  So instead, I cut up an old, thin T-shirt (that was clean–don’t panic) and used it to line my colander, which I set directly in the sink (others like to drain it over a bowl so they can catch the whey–the thin, liquid, left-over part.)

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I then pour the entire contents of my pot into my colander slowly.  I let that drain for a minute.

Photo1 (5)

I then take the corners of my thin cloth and tie them together like a hobo’s bag.  Then, I hang it up somewhere and allow it to drain for a bit.  It doesn’t matter where you hang it–but if it’s not over a sink, you’ll want to put a bowl under it to catch the drippings.  It also doesn’t matter how long or short you drain it.  The longer it drains, the dryer it will be and the longer it will last.  I tend to like it a bit on the moist side, though…  I prefer the texture of the cheese a bit more.  I usually let mine hang for 20-30 minutes.

photo (9)

At this point, I take a bowl and pour out my spices that I want.  Usually, I use a ridiculous amount of garlic salt (maybe 2-3 tbsp), a bit of rosemary (1/2 tsp-ish), and Italian seasoning (1 tsp.)  Play with this step to find what you prefer…  I want to try a vanilla-blueberry cheese someday.  I use a fork to mix the seasonings into the cheese.

Photo1 (7)

And there you have it: super easy cheese!  I find that this keeps for up to a week, depending on the moisture.  Good luck!

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