Hand Craft Your Own Cheese? It Only Takes 2 Simple Steps And Less Than 20 Minutes
Stand by for an embarrassing revelation. I’m a little goofy. Does that come as a shock? Let me prove it to you. Food moves my spirit. Eating, cooking, reading about it, taking pictures of it… I feel close to the universal force of purity, love, and beauty. It’s is a spiritual experience for me. Only two other activities come close… All three are states of ecstasy but experience has proved they are best enjoyed separately. That’s great, right? But what the heck does it have to do with making cheese?
Cheese is a mystical process. Along with bread making and beer making, it is a craft and a science that dates back millennia. And like the other two, it is often considered impossible for the average Joe (or Jane, or, heck, Eric for that matter) to do at home.
But that’s far from the truth.
In fact, you can make an amazing cheese that will have you dancing. I was literally jumping up and down and dancing and giggling “I did it! I made cheese!” Don’t be embarrassed when you do the same.
What’s even better – it will take you less than 20 minutes, and only 3 simple ingredients to get it done (whole milk, lemon juice, and salt). And no special equipment.
If you can boil water, and if you can skim a swimming pool for leaves, you can make cheese.
Ready? Here we go!
Get a quart (four cups) of the highest fat milk you can find. For most people that will be whole milk. Get it as close to “natural” as you can… But don’t fret it too much. After all, you are on the verge of true bad-assery here! You’re about to make cheese for goodness sakes! (As a quick note, the higher fat milk you can find, the more cheese you’ll be able to get out of the process.)
Okay, you’ve got your milk. Now you need some lemon juice. Put 4 tablespoons on stand-by…
Now get a big sauce pot that the milk will all fit into. A 2-quart pot is recommended.
Pour the milk in. Turn on a medium heat. Let it come to a simmer. We’re talking tiny bubbles starting to form around the inner rim of the pot. And a few in the middle of the milk.
SLOWLY, let me say it again, S-L-O-W-L-Y add the first tablespoon of lemon juice, and G-E-N-T-L-Y stir. Watch like a hawk. Nothing doing? Add another tablespoon of lemon juice as above. Repeat the process until you see separation. Remember “Little Miss Muffet?” She sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Well that’s what you’re looking for. You’ll see the curds forming, separating out of the clear whey.
Turn the heat to low once the liquid doesn’t look like plain milk i.e. it has separated (also known as “coagulated” in cheese-speak).
Stir very gently for a minute or two more. Scoop out the curds. Put them into a strainer lined with cheesecloth because, hey, that’d be a perfect place as it ain’t called “CHEESE cloth” for nothin’.
Voila. You’ve got cheese.
No rennet. No special containers. No voodoo dance in the corner.
Sprinkle some salt on it for grins (and a bit of flavor) and you’re golden.
Eat it within a few days… but trust me, it won’t last that long!
Some ideas for serving? Smear it on some toasted baguette.
Schmear a bit of it on some bread and drizzle it with olive oil and some fresh basil leaves.
You’ll wind up with a product the consistency of ricotta cheese.
I came across this recipe as I was walking around a book store. You know, those places people go to drink coffee and browse magazines for free… Oh, and once upon a time, bought books from…
I still love those places. And I found a book called One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero.
It tempted me, it challenged me… It thrilled me. So I bought it.
And that night, I became a minor, minor, minor deity… I entered the sacred hall of cheese making kitchen gods.
And you can to. Start with the recipe above. If you are totally amazed at what you’re able to do, just imagine how you’ll feel when you get through all 16 of the simple recipes for making cheese in less than one hour in the book!