Saturday, October 23, 2010

Easy Cheese

No, not the fake squirty cheese stuff in a can.  Just Easy-to-Make Cheese.  I still haven’t mastered the art of hard cheeses, although I haven’t tried in over a year.  We made mozzarella a few months ago & it turned out ok, but I really want to learn how to make a good, sharp cheddar.
Anyways, since I’m lazy, I just make a fresh cheese; some call it Queso Blanco (or something like that).  And it’s easy enough for me to make in the early morning & have it ready in the afternoon.
I get out my nice handy-dandy, thick copper bottom pot, about one & a half gallons of goat milk, thermometer, stirring spoon & about ¾ cup of white vinegar. 
Heat the milk up to 185 degrees and then hold it there for ten minutes.  Move the pot off the heat, give it a quick stir while pouring in the vinegar & let it sit for several hours or until it’s cooled down.
I make two slices in the set curd to make four large pieces so it's easier to pour  out.  Drain off the whey and strain it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.  You don't have to save the whey, but I keep it for the chickens; it's a good protein supplement for them and I hate to see it just go down the drain.
When it's finished draining, I pack it in a plastic tub & it will keep in the fridge for about a week.  I've also had luck with freezing it, although it's best used in a baked dish instead of a "fresh" spread as some of the water separates out of it and the consistency is not as smooth. 
This batch made 2 lbs. 11 oz. of cheese.  The cheese will be used for pizza topping, lasagna or cheese enchiladas, although when we're up to our eyeballs in it, I’ll put it in just about anything I can.  I’ve also made a sweet cheese spread for bagels or toast by whipping it up with some stevia or honey and I’ve also made some with dried onion and other herbs for cheese & cracker snacks.

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