Tag: cheese

Who moved my cheese?

Last fall, I signed up for a cheese class at Prairieland Herbs with my friend Amy. I was a little apprehensive, wasn’t making cheese hard? I mean, all that measuring and temperatures and rennet? Wasn’t rennet hard to get and didn’t rennet fail sometimes and then bye bye milk?

Weeeelll, this cheese class cleared up all those myths and more!

Miss Effie (aka Cathy Lafrenz) is a great teacher, no pressure, and lots of fun. Plus she knits, bakes, quilts, and spins and basically if its DIY, she’s all over it!

I used Picket Fence whole milk (3%) in class and made a luscious ball of cheese. I used 1% this time, and made a nice lowfat ball of cheese.  So use the milk your diet will allow.

(You will want to use an instant read thermometer, trust me)

Beginning to curdle.

Heat one gallon of milk to 55 degrees, add 1 1/2 tsp citric acid crystals dissolved in 1/2 cup non-chlorinated water.
It will begin to curdle.

Adding rennet.

Heat it a bit more, to 90 degrees, then add 1/4 tsp liquid rennet (a coagulating agent, from animal or vegetable source), mixed with 1/4 c cool non-chlorinated water, and continue to cook to 100-105 degrees, it will curdle even more, and begin to separate, that watery liquid is the whey. Be sure to check the temp of the whey too, not just the curds.

When it reaches 100-105 degrees, turn off the heat and wait until it begins to solidify and pull away from the sides, about 5-15 minutes, or more, your experience may vary dependent on the milk and the rennet and any other unseen things that are out to get you that day.
When the whey is clear (if the whey is still milky, keep waiting until it clears) the curds will be shiny, thick, clumpy clods, then pour your curds gently into a colander and drain. You may choose to save the whey to use in baked goods, soups, it does still contain many nutrients.

Draining curds. Drain your cheese well, gently pressing out all the whey, heating and squeezing.

Place the curds into a microwaveable bowl and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute on high, take it out and squeeze out more whey and stretch it. Use a wooden spoon as its hot, or use your hands if you like pain. Heat it again for 35 seconds on high, and repeat the squeezing and stretching. Do that one more time. Now is the time to add some sea salt if you choose, just sprinkle on and knead it in.

Fini!!

As you stretch and knead, begin to smooth it into a ball, if it breaks instead of stretching, reheat for 35 seconds again.
When it looks smooth and shiny and feels like a solid ball of cheese, its done!

I highly encourage you to take a class, I’m not sure I would have been successful the first time on my own if I hadn’t taken a class. But if you don’t have access to a teacher or a class, then just go for it. Use whole milk for your first time, but don’t use ULTRA pasteurized, I’m told it won’t work. Whole milk will give you a lovely product, exactly what you want the first time out.

Homemade Mozzarella
Recipe Type: Cheese
Author: Merry Amann
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Last fall, I signed up for a cheese class at Prairieland Herbs with my friend Amy. I was a little apprehensive, wasn’t making cheese hard? I mean, all that measuring and temperatures and rennet? Wasn’t rennet hard to get and didn’t rennet fail sometimes and then bye bye milk? Weeeelll, this cheese class cleared up all those myths and more!
Ingredients
  • 1/4 tsp liquid rennet
  • 3/4 cup cool, chlorine-free water (most bottled waters are chlorine-free)
  • 1 gallon milk (2%, 1%, or skim)
  • 1 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • Salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Heat one gallon of milk to 55 degrees, add 1 1/2 tsp citric acid crystals dissolved in 1/2 cup non-chlorinated water. It will begin to curdle.
  2. Heat it a bit more, to 90 degrees, then add 1/4 tsp liquid rennet (a coagulating agent, from animal or vegetable source), mixed with 1/4 c cool non-chlorinated water, and continue to cook to 100-105 degrees, it will curdle even more, and begin to separate, that watery liquid is the whey. Be sure to check the temp of the whey too, not just the curds.
  3. When it reaches 100-105 degrees, turn off the heat and wait until it begins to solidify and pull away from the sides, about 5-15 minutes, or more, your experience may vary dependent on the milk and the rennet.
  4. When the whey is clear (if the whey is still milky, keep waiting until it clears) the curds will be shiny, thick, clumpy clods, then pour your curds gently into a colander and drain.
  5. Place the curds into a microwaveable bowl and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute on high, take it out and squeeze out more whey and stretch it. Use a wooden spoon as its hot.
  6. Heat it again for 35 seconds on high, and repeat the squeezing and stretching. Do that one more time.
  7. Now is the time to add some sea salt if you choose, just sprinkle on and knead it in.
  8. As you stretch and knead, begin to smooth it into a ball, if it breaks insteads of stretching, reheat for 35 seconds again. When it looks smooth and shiny and feels like a solid ball of cheese, its done!

 

Butternut Squash Pizza

Butternut Squash Pizza
Cook time: 70 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pizza dough for 1 pizza
  • c. grated mozzarella cheese
  • c. grated Gruyere cheese
  • 12 sprigs parsley
  • 20 sage leaves
  • lemon
  • From
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice off the top of the squash about ½ inch under the stem and slice just enough off the bottom to remove the remnants of the withered flower stem; be careful not to cut into the seed cavity.
  3. Split the squash in half crosswise just above the bulge. Stand each half end up and carefully cut away all the skin. Cut each portion in half lengthwise and scoop the seed and fiber from the lower half with a spoon. Cut the quarters crosswise into ¼ inch slices. The upper portions will yield half moon slices, and the lower sections elongated C shapes.
  4. Brush the slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange them in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 to 60 minutes, checking from time to time. The roasting time will vary according to the sugar and moisture content and the density of the squash. It is done when lightly browned and tender to the touch.
  5. Meanwhile, peel and chop fine the garlic and add to the ¼ c. olive oil. When the squash slices are done, remove from the oven.
  6. Put a pizza stone in the oven and boost the heat to 450 degrees. Roll out a circle of pizza dough, brush with the olive oil and garlic, and sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella and Gruyere.
  7. Arrange the slices of cooked squash over the cheese.
  8. Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheeses have melted.
  9. While the pizza is baking, chop the parsley leaves, Fry the sage leaves briefly in hot olive oil, then drain them on an absorbent towel.
  10. When the pizza is done, garnish with the sage leaves, the chopped parsley, and a squeeze of lemon This is a very rich pizza, and is best served in small portions as an appetizer.
  11. Makes one 12 inch-pizza.
Notes

Chez Panisse Vegetables (Waters)