I've been meaning to make my own cheese for about two years now, but I just haven't gotten around to ordering some rennet yet and you need that to make mozzarella, which was the first cheese I was going to try.
I finally decided to find a cheese I could just make with ingredients I already had on hand. I discovered something called "Farmer's Cheese." In the descriptions I found, it sounded like this cheese would get all melty and could be used for pretty much anything you'd use mozzarella in.
I was excited, although it sounded too good to be true.
Which it was.
Well, it was and it wasn't.
Are you totally confused? Well, the down side with this cheese was that, in my opinion, it was nothing like mozzarella.
The up side is that this cheese is still quite tasty and I do feel it can be substituted for ricotta or used any time you want to add some cheese to a recipe, but don't necessarily need it to melt.
And the best part of this experience was that this cheese was pretty much one of the most ridiculously easy things I've ever made.
So, if you're looking for a homemade cheese to add to your lasagna, or salads, or even just to munch on....
...or if you're wanting to try making some cheese yourself, but want to start with something simple, then this is a great cheese for you.
I'm just excited to find a way to start replacing some of our non organic cheese with organic cheese, without spending half our food budget to do it. (Organic milk is way cheaper than organic cheese. We flat out can't afford organic cheese, which is troubling, since we all love cheese.)
What You Need:1 gallon milk
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (plain vinegar works, too)
4 Tablespoons butter
What You Do:1. Make sure your crock pot is really clean. (get yours here) Pour your milk into it and set your timer for two and a half hours and the heat to high. Then go do something else. (You might want to check the milk's temperature every 30 minutes the first time you do this. You want it to get to around 180 degrees. Once you know how long your slow cooker takes to get the milk heated correctly, you can just set it and forget it in the future.)
2. When your milk has reached 180 degrees, lift the ceramic part out of the base cooker and stir the milk.
3. Add in your vinegar and give it all another stir until you see the curds (solids) separate from the whey (liquid):
4. Strain the cheese over a large bowl. You can use whatever straining method you find easiest (cheesecloth, tea towel, etc.), but I use my chinois and I think it works the best! (get one here)
5. Pour the leftover whey (liquid) into containers to freeze and then use it to cook grains, beans, bread, or pizza.
6. Empty the cheese into a bowl. Add the butter and mix until it's all incorporated.
7. Use within a few days, or freeze to use later (I usually use half right away and freeze the other half for later. The consistency is slightly different when you freeze it, but you'll never notice if you're using this cheese in a baked recipe like lasagna).
So have I convinced you to try making your own cheese yet? I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.
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