Thursday, August 31, 2006
Our household has decided to switch to eating more organic and preservative free foods. In my neck of the woods, this requires us to make a lot of our own foods. One of the things that we have decided to make has been cottage cheese. It does take some time to do, but if you plan correctly, it should only take about an hour to make a batch.
Here is the process that I use to make simple cottage cheese.
Night before, put 1 gallon milk into pot with starter, (For a starter you can use cultured buttermilk since it has the enzymes needed to convert milk to cheese) cover and let it sit overnight.
Next morning, add 1/8 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup water. (if you don't have calcium chloride, you can use non-idoized salt)
Add 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup of water. Mix with a slow up and down motion. Cover and let stand for 4 - 8 hours. If have used the rennet that is found in the grocery stores and have had great success. Generally, I use 1 tablet per 1 gallon.
The curd should be rather soft at this point, cut the curd and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
Slowly heat the curds to 110 degrees. I usually use the lowest setting on the stove.
After the curds have reached 110 degrees maintain this temperature for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, cover and let stand for another 5 minutes.
Line a colander with cheesecloth, drain the curds into the colander and tie into a ball.
Dunk the ball into cold water a couple of times and then let drain for 10 minutes.
Untie the bag, place curds in a bowl and break up the pieces. Add any salt, herbs, fruit that you desire. I have been using cumin along with caraway seeds, sort of a southwestern rye taste.
Store covered in the refrigerator. This will keep for about a week and will make about 1 1/2 pounds of cottage chess.
Just another thing that you can enjoy with your homemade wine or beer. Make a couple of different ones and have a cheese and wine tasting party. Bottom line, just enjoy