Monday, October 12, 2015

Quick Soft Cheese Class Handout

The production of cheese for food is ancient. The definite origins are unknown though there are many theories.

It is a versatile and tasty byproduct of 'too much milk'. Many factors govern the final product including the kind of milk used, what you use to set the curd (Rennet or other acid), cultures and other flavoring additions and further processing including bacteria and mold introduced or just in local conditions.

Quick Farmer's Cheese

1 quart of whole goat milk
2-4 Tbsp lemon juice
cheese cloth
salt and herbs

Heat your milk slowly in a non-reactive pot, stirring with a wooden spoon to 175 F (about 80 C). It will look 'foamy' around the edges.
Stir in the lemon juice and let the curds 'set' 10-15 minutes.
Pour into a colander lined with cheese cloth and let drain an hour to an hour and a half.
If you're in a hurry you can pick up the bundle and squeeze out the whey out with gloved hands.  Careful, it's hot!
Add salt and herbs. Form into a button.
Serve it forth or chill to use in the next week.

Farm fresh milk is best. You may use cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, reindeer, camel, yak, etc.
Store bought pasteurized milk is acceptable as long as it's not 'ultra pasteurized'.
To set the curds you may also use other citrus juices or acids like vinegar or rennet.

If you soak it in cold water for a few hours then press it under a slab you have made Paneer.
Paneer (also Panir or Paner) is an acid set, non-melting farmer's cheese.

What to do with the whey (other than converting it to bacon by feeding it to the pigs)? The whey is the liquid strained away from the button.
Original recipe from Platina: De Recocta. We heat the whey which was left from the cheese in a cauldron over a slow fire until all the fat rises to the top; this is what the country-folk call recocta, because it is made from leftover milk which is heated up. It is very white and mild. It is less healthful than new or medium-aged cheese, but it is considered better than that which is aged or too salty. Whether one is pleased to call it cocta or recocta, cooks use it in many pottages, especially in those made of herbs.
- Andrews, E. B. trans. Platina. De Honesta Voluptatae. L. de Aguila. Venice, 1475. St. Louis: Mallinckrodt, 1967.

Redaction: Save the whey, slowly heat to over 185F to precipitate the milk solids. You will see it happen! Strain through cheese cloth, salt and use in other recipes or eat plain!

Or... some recipes use more acid (vinegar or citrus) to make ricotta and other products.

Adrienne d'Evreus. 207-651-5837 2014

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