True story. If any of you hold any misconceptions about me being an organized and “on it” kind of person, this should help you overcome those myths immediately. A couple of weeks ago, I was having a typical morning running errands in the usual race against the clock. I had picked up a gallon of organic whole milk at the store for my girls, and proceeded to put it in the trunk of my car. Two days passed. I drove to a trailhead, opened up the back of the car on a mission to set up the Chariot and enjoy a nice morning run, and I discovered my long-forgotten gallon of milk. Not only was it an expensive gallon, but I truly cherish all things dairy, and this was a loss! I thought.
I refused to pour what could have been perfectly good milk down the drain when I returned home. So, I put a big blue piece of art tape across the front to remind me not to serve it to my children, and let it sit there in the refrigerator to age until I could come up with a plan for its fate.
Today was gray and rainy, and therefore I was not at all feeling motivated to finish up the laundry, or the dishes left over from weekend feasting. What I felt like doing was playing in the kitchen. So I got out that gallon of milk and did a little research online. I wanted to try my hand at making it into yogurt, but after reading Heidi’s post, I learned that you need really fresh milk for good yogurt. Foiled again. So, I started googling: “what to do with sour milk,” and stumbled across Anna’s blog which had a post on just such a topic. One of her commentors suggested using vinegar to make the milk into cheese, and when I read that, I was sold. I love cheese, and have always harbored a not-so-secret desire to make my own. Upon tasting the milk, I realized that because I had never even opened it, it was not quite sour yet — it just had a more “mature” taste, but by that point, I was bent on making it into cheese!
Now, as this was my first attempt, I kept it plain and simple for the trial run. I had fabulous success, and not only was it ridiculously easy, but the cheese is delicious and just barely sweet. It’s comparable to a ricotta but even lighter in texture and just lovely to look at. I’ve now spent the better part of my day plotting how I will use it (other than drizzling it with honey right this moment and diving in), so stay tuned. In the meantime, why not try this at home?
from generations of able homecooks, written recipe by Stephanie Kunstle
makes about 3 cups fresh cheese
- 1 gallon organic whole milk, fresh or not-so-fresh
- 1 cup organic distilled white vinegar
- In a large pot, heat milk slowly over low heat until it reaches 135 F. This could take about 30 minutes or so. The milk will be hot to the touch, forming a nice skin over the top, but should never boil.
- Remove from heat, and add the vinegar, stirring to incorporate for 2-3 minutes.
- Milk will immediately separate (a great teaching moment if you have kids). Stir well and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Using a large cheesecloth or flour sack, cover a large collander and set it over your kitchen sink or a very large bowl. Pour the contents of the pot into the collander, and using a wooden spoon, stir slowly to help the whey drain off from the cheese curds.
- Let the cheese drain for about an hour. Scoop it into a glass or porcelain container, cover well, and keep refrigerated.
- This fresh cheese is meant to be used right away — it would be perfect in a fresh pasta dish, as dessert with fruit or honey, among other ideas (soon to come). Store it no longer than a week for best flavor!