Friday, 29 October 2010

Further Adventures in Cheese - Greek Island Mizithra

This month at Forging Fromage we made Greek Island Mizithra. A soft, fresh cheese that seems to have many variations. The one we made is very milky in flavour and lightly salted. It reminds me of a cross between ricotta/fresh mozzarella/paneer. It would be excellent cubed and tossed in a salad with a strong dressing as it is a great carrier of flavour. Or even served sliced with fresh fruit and honey. Yum!

Greek Island Mizithra
adapted from 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes

3 quarts whole milk
1 tbsp pickling (canning) or kosher salt
½ tsp liquid rennet
(whenever I am using pasteurized milk - which is always as raw milk is illegal in Ontario, I also add a ¼ tsp calcium chloride diluted in ¼ cup cold water when I add the rennet)

Sterilize all equipment.
In a large stainless steel pot, heat milk gently to 90°F, stirring gently to prevent scorching.
Remove from heat and stir in salt

Dilute rennet in ¼ cup cool water. Add to milk and, using an up-and-down motion, draw rennet down into milk until well blended. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, or until a firm curd has formed.

Using a whisk, gently break up curd, stirring until curd pieces are approximately ½ inch in size. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Using skimmer, stir gently for 5 minutes.

Gently pour curd into a cloth-lined colander and let drain for 1 hour. Scrape cheese into center of cloth. Gather the four corners of the cloth together and tie to create a bag. Hang the bag and let drain over a bowl or the sink for another 5 hours at room temperature. Place a colander in a bowl; place bag in the colander and let drain in the refirgerator for another 12 hours. Twist the cloth tighter from time to time to aid draining.

Remove cheese from cloth and place in a bowl. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.