Homemade Cheese!

I promised my husband last week that I’d make him pizza soon (to distract him from the Domino’s adverts…) So I made the dough this morning – a slightly different recipe from the one I usually use, looking good at the moment though – and only then looked in the fridge. There is a hunk of cheddar left in the door, but it’s distinctly smaller than I remember, and with the cheese-to-base ratio that a certain someone prefers, I’m on track for a very healthy dairy-free dinner! On the spur of the moment, I decided to try something we’ve been talking about for a while now – cheese-making!

T got a book on making cheese at home for Christmas so I had a flick through that, but my sudden desire to have a go meant that we didn’t have any special ingredients like rennet in the house. A quick trawl on the internet suggested that I could make something with just milk, lemon juice and salt – all of which I have, so full steam ahead! I have to say that I’m very impressed with the results – the whole process was so quick and easy, and what I ended up with was unmistakably cheese, which has to be good!

Here’s the recipe I used: 1/2 litre milk; 7-8 tsp lemon juice / white wine vinegar [I used half and half]; 1/2 tsp salt.

Method: Slowly bring the milk to the boil in a pan over a low heat – mine took about 25 minutes – and then turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and stir; the milk begins to separate instantly. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth [I used a clean dishcloth which worked perfectly] and place over a bowl,then pour the mixture into the sieve. Again, leave to drain for about 5 minutes. Give the curds in the cloth a squeeze to remove any more whey, and form into a ball – voila, cheese!

The taste reminds me of feta, if I can get hold of some sheep’s milk I’ll try that. As T said, it would be delicious spread straight away on fresh bread – in the summer, with fresh salad and some marinated olives, it’ll be divine. Tonight, I don’t think the cheese is going to melt on the pizza, but it should taste pretty good with olives and tomatoes. Have a go!

Heating the milk

Separating into curds and whey

Draining through a dishcloth...

Squeezed dry

Ready for eating!

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