Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to: Make Cheese

I made cheese. Therefore, I now win at life.

A. How to Make Paneer (an incomplete, out of focus, step by step guide):

Stuff you need..

  • whole milk (not UHT pasturized, though)
  • lemon juice or lime juice
  • big pot
  • cheesecloth / hemp cloth/ lightweight dish towel

We used 2L of whole milk, and the juice of one lime. Enough for two people to eat for dinner (if you are not as much of a maenad as B and I, you can prob. feed more people than two)
Easy to double, if you want to make more.

So. Bring milk to a boil. Turn it down to medium. Stir in lime juice. Watch it separate into large curds! Whee!

Pour everything into the awaiting cheesecloth (double folded). Oh, right, get a bowl! Put it under so you can save the whey (yellow neon liquid).

Make a loose knot. Drain for 30 minutes.

Stick it in the fridge to firm up for a few hours.

You've made a ball of CHEEZ!

Now, the hard part... you must choose a recipe with which to use your paneer.

First, snack on a slice (or three).

We made paneer curry with peas.  You'll have to go there for the recipe, because I am already tired of typing all this out (even though I recently wrote a five hundred paragraph post on money, I seem to lack the resilience for instruction-type posts).

The curry was bright and yummy.

(I personally would add salt to my paneer process next time, because I am addicted to sodium chloride.)

B. B.What to do with Whey 

Whey is apparently really good for you. So don't throw it out. You can use it for multiple things, and it stores well for a week or so in an air tight container.

I used it to make:

  • Spelt biscuits (replacing the buttermilk)
  • As a base for soup
  • As the water when making rice
  • Feeding Chloe the dog, when she stopped by for a visit

C. C.How to Make Mascarpone (It is so easy, you could be asleepish)

Decadent, creamy, smooth, Italian cheese.

Stuff needed:
  • heavy cream
  • citric acid (or lemon juice, but I didn't try it this way)
  • themometer
  • salt
  • cheesecloth
  • pot

Dissolve 1/4 tsp of citric acid into 1/4 cup of water, until it is completely gone. Pour 2 cups of cream into the pot, and heat (low-medium) until it reaches 190-195 F, stirring often. Don't let it boil over. Slowly pour citric acid solution into hot cream, while stirring. Lower heat and leave it for 1-2 minutes. Take off heat.

 Bring to room temperature (half hour or more).

Line a sieve with cheesecloth, and pour mixture in. Mixture will have separated into little chunks/whey.

Drain in fridge overnight (or at least 4 hours).

You've got mascarpone!

The beauty of this cheese, is that it is so adept at sliding into savoury and sweet dishes.

What I used it for:

In a smoked salmon, caper, mascarpone pasta..
 On top of a chocolate red wine cake...
 Most simply, as a spread on toast, and drizzled with honey.

Really though, my favourite was probably when I scooped it up with my fingers, sans anything else.

 This recipe yields 1 1/2 cups-- I doubled it, so I could make all these meals. I just made another batch today, so I will let you know what my mascarpone intentions are, next time.

 Happy fromaging!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah cheese! I remember Scott rolled his eyes when I wanted to buy a 'how to make cheese' cookbook a few years ago. Make sure you try the Labenah (strained yogurt cheese)