Monday, September 11, 2006

So much milk; let's make cottage cheese

Due to some changes in how I get my raw milk, I have suddenly found
myself with a surplus. Usually I get 3 gallons / week for my family,
and that's about how much we consume. But 2 weeks ago I got 4
gallons, and last week, got 4 gallons again. Then yesterday another
gallon found its way to me. That's a lot of milk!

2 of the gallons had been sitting in a cooler with ice & ice packs for
4 days, but the ice had all melted, so this milk wasn't going to stay
fresh for long. So I decided to make some cheese.

I started by making a gallon in to cottage cheese, as it's something
the twins like to eat. There are many ways to make it, but I used a
simple recipe that takes rennet this time:

0 skim the cream off 1 gallon of milk
1 warm milk to 80 degrees F.
2 mix 1/4 tsp liquid rennet with 1/4 c cool water
3 stir the milk while pouring in the rennet
4 raise the temperature to 110 over 20 minutes; curds will form
I think I let it sit like this for 15 minutes, but I can't remember
5 cut the curd
6 let the curd sit another 15 minutes, as it will release whey after being cut
7 pull out curds with your hands, cut them in to smaller bits, and let
them drain in a strainer
8 when done draining, break the curds in to small pieces
9 stir some of the cream back in

It was good, but not as good as the best cottage cheese I've had. I
think I warmed the curd up too quickly, which makes it form a tougher,
chewier curd, which is suitable for making an aged, hard cheese. I
also think I added too much cream back in, as the curds tasted quite
good by themselves.

I expect to have extra milk on a regular basis, so I want to get in to
a rhythm of making something like this every Sunday.

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