Monday, August 25, 2008

A Novice Cheese Maker

I have wanted to make cheese for years. I have sat in front of my TV watching boring documentaries on artisan cheese makers with my mouth agape and my heart in my throat. It is like magic. Some heat and some rennet . . . a curd forms! (how does that happen? It's so quick!). A culture, and the whole thing changes again. Magic!Poetry!

But I thought it was too hard or magical or large scale to do it in your kitchen. Then I started reading and it turns out all you need is a pot, a thermometer, and some cloth. You don't even need the rennet for the really simple ones. So here is a really simple cheese I have made in my kitchen. It is quick and easy and no one has died yet. Not even Grace and she is small and vulnerable to bacterial toxins.

Lemon cream cheese:

8 cups milk (whole milk is best, ultra-pasteurized won't work, non-homogenized is best if you can get it)

Juice of 2 lemons

Bring the milk to 180 degrees.

Add the lemon juice, turn off heat, stir a few times and then walk away and leave it alone for 15 minutes.

Strain it into cheese cloth or a linen or muslin cloth. And let hang for about an hour.

Turn it into a bowl. This is the whole original recipe, but I made some additions to the finished cheese that I think are lovely .

Add the following:

zest of 1 or 2 lemons

some maple syrup

a little salt

a big spoonful of plain yogurt

That is it! Try it! It is lovely on toast. When the curd separates it is the coolest thing in the world. It takes like four seconds. Magic. I can't wait to get my real cheese stuff and get started with mozzarella and the like. I can't wait to cut the curd and stretch it and drain it. And I will record the whole thing. I will suck up my pride and ask Mike to show me how to post photos and everything.

I feel the same way about beer and bread and pickled vegetables, but it turns out you can make those too! And yogurt! And it's not even hard.


Laura said...

Megan, you are so balls out I can't even stand it. Cheese making? I'm SO EXCITED! It's going to be awesome!

Annie said...

Okay, I am doing that today. 180 degrees eh? I even have a thermometer. Definitely balls out Meg.