Saturday, 31 October 2009

Homemade Cottage Cheese

Further adventures in homemade cheesemaking have us creating large-curd cottage cheese this month. I am getting mine in just under the wire, and good thing too - I chose this cheese.
I do like cottage cheese, creamy and a little salty. I think of brunches; bagels, fresh fruit, lox and gloriously creamy cottage cheese.
What started as a lark with Heather and I has gained momentum and interest from others and now Heather has opened up a site dedicated to home cheese-making. Please visit Forging Fromage if you would like to join us in our cheesy adventures.
Now, back to cottage cheese... this recipe came together fairly easily for me, I added the calcium chloride with the rennet to help form the curds - a step suggested to me to help offset the dulling effects of the homogenization and pasteurization of store-bought milk.
The end cheese is creamy and light and delicious. Try this at home!

Large Curd Cottage Cheese
adapted from The Home Creamery, Kathy Farrell-Kingsley
go to Girlichef's site for step-by-step photos

1 gallon milk, whole, low-fat, or nonfat
1/4 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 tsp calcium chloride (optional)
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
1 to 2 tsp sea salt

1. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and heat over low heat to 95F. Check temperature with a thermometer. (I use my slow cooker and a probe thermometer)

2. Dissolve the rennet in the water in a small cup (and calcuim chloride, if using). Stir the dissolved rennet into the milk for 30 seconds. Stir in the buttermilk. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour or until solid curds form.

3. Cut curds into 1-inch pieces. Heat the curds with the whey over low heat to 110F, stirring gently to bring curds from the bottom to the top (stir for the first 5 minutes, then every 5 minutes) it should take about 30 minutes for the curds to reach 110F.

4. Pour or ladle the curds into a colander lined with a double layer of butter muslin. Let the whey drain about 5 minutes, then gather together the edges of the muslin and rinse the cheese under cold water, squeezing while rinsing.

5. Squeeze the cheese dry, then transfer to a medium bowl and add 1 to 2 tsp of salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use or up to 2 days. (Add cream, if desired)

Cheesemaking supplies and links available on the Forging Fromage blogsite.