Thursday, March 31, 2011

Say "Cheese"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:23 AM

As a parent, I have never been thrown such a softball. My oldest son asked a simple question: “Dad, how is cheese made?”

After a about a five-minute technical discussion on cheese making and the art that it is, I could see that I was getting nowhere. So I decided to show him instead of tell him.

The first step in making cheese is to heat the dairy product that you are going to use. I used 2 percent milk, because that's what I had, but whole milk works better. Heat the milk to the point right before boiling.

Next, add an acid of some type. I prefer to use white vinegar because it has the most inert flavor of all the acids that can be used. A budding cheese maker can also use lemon juice and rennet tablets designed specifically for fresh cheeses.

cheese.jpg

When the cheese has curdled, fully separating the curd from the whey, the product is ready to be strained. Line a strainer with clean cheesecloth and pour the mixture through. When the liquid is gone, you should have only cheese curds left. Wring the excess moisture out of the curds. This will give you a firmer cheese.

Flavor the curds as you see fit. This style of cheese is often called “farmer's cheese” and is related to modern day ricotta. I add a little lemon zest and and black pepper, and this cheese makes for a great treat on a summer afternoon or an interesting addition to a cheese tray.

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