March’s challenge for the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge was Home Dairy. I decided to give cheese making a try.
This is something I can honestly say I have never given a thought to. Making beer at home? Sure, that’s normal….but cheese? that’s a whole other story (and frankly, a bit weird). I suspected that cheese making consisted of turning milk by hand for 3 days in a wooden barrel while wearing some sort of floral pleated dress and matching bonnet. (It turns out, that’s more like butter making….)
I was able to make this ricotta cheese without said bonnet or wooden barrel rather easily. I used Trader Joe’s Organic Whole milk because you don’t want something overly pasteurized. The only things I had to buy were cheese cloth (I had trouble finding butter muslin which I think would have been preferable) and a digital thermometer. But, if you are more domestic than I am (likely..) you may already have all the needed equipment in your kitchen. The only other thing you will need is a pot (and if you don’t have one of those in your kitchen, go make some ramen noodles instead….)
Well we successfully made cheese! But next time will have to refine the additions. I had decided to add some cilantro (too much) and then my husband decided to add lime (I’m not sure why). The cheese was edible…and finished, but I’m going to monitor the quantities a bit better. I made need to give this one a whirl without anything but the lemon and then step up my game as goat cheese has been suggested for the next trial run.
Check out this page for the lemon ricotta cheese recipe and here for more ideas for cheese making.
Hmm….if I can just hone my skills with the beer and cheese, I see pairings in my future!