Sunday, May 1, 2011

Say Cheese!

In a few upcoming posts, we are going to be talking about making cheese. I want to share a helpful book I have as well as some methods and recipes that may be helpful. If you are interested in learning how to make cheese or cottage cheese, or just want to learn how to use some of your powdered milk in cheese making, you’ll need to gather some supplies.

One of the most important things you’ll use in cheese making is Cheese Cloth. Sometimes it is hard to find. If you have a fabric store close to you that sells cheese cloth, grab some for your storage. It is also helpful in making jams and jellies. It is pretty inexpensive if you can buy it by the yard so grab a bunch and put it away so that you’ll be prepared to make your own cheese.

If you can’t find it by the yard, you can usually find it in a store that sells sewing notions and supplies prepackaged in the notion section. Make sure you have some on hand in your storage. We’ll talk about other supplies you need later on.

I came across the coolest articles the other day. Are you a big fan of cheese sauces in your dishes or on your vegetables? Home canned “soft cheese” has better cooking properties than store bought bottled cheese meant for snack food. It contains no preservatives and is more economical than commercial products for cooking purposes. These instructions yield a product that is similar to “Cheese Whiz”, yet better tasting for a recipe of macaroni and cheese. This simple to do recipe for home canned cheese will keep for 2 years plus.

Here is the recipe which uses Velveeta or similar cheese. Velveeta does have a relatively long shelf life, if you want to store it in a cool dry place, but if you want to have some canned on your shelf here is how you can do it. This recipe is better than just using strait Velveeta and can be easily canned to become part of your food storage. This recipe comes from the End Times Report (.com).

Homemade Canned “Cheese Whiz”
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 T. vinegar
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. Velveeta cheese or any processed cheese
½ tsp. dry mustard
Melt milk and cheese in double boiler. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Fill pint jars about 1” from top of jar and seal. Place in Boiling Water bath for 10 minutes.

Here are a couple of recipes for homemade cheese. The first is for Buttermilk cheese. This can be used like a spread on toast or crackers or topped with fruits or jams or jellies and used as a dip.

Buttermilk Cheese
Yields: 6-ounces of cheese
1 quart whole milk
1 ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
2 t. kosher salt
Line a colander or a medium strainer with three layers of cheesecloth and set in sink. Combine ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and cook until mixture reaches about 180ยบ and separates into white curds and translucent whey, about 8 minutes. Ladle contents into prepared colander and drain completely. Gather corners of cheesecloth together and gently twist to press out excess whey. Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature before serving, about 10 minutes. For firmer cheese, transfer cheese, still in the cloth, to a small flat-bottomed covered bowl and chill in refrigerator until cool, about 10 minutes. Unwrap and gently invert onto plate. Cover again with lid or plastic wrap and chill until serving. And toppings if you wish. Cheese will keep for up to 2 days.

Home Made Farmer's Cheese
My friend Christine gave me this recipe years ago. She has been making this cheese forever and learned how to make it from her Grandmother. This is not a cheese that you make and store; it must be eaten in a few days. You can use it in your baking (It melts well) or as a soft cheese for snacking. Makes about 1 pound of cheese.
1 gallon whole milk
1 pinch salt
1 large lemon, juiced
Pour milk into a large kettle; add salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom. When milk begins to get small bubbles around the edges and starts to boil, turn off the burner. Stir lemon juice into the milk; the milk will curdle. It may take a few minutes. Line a colander with a cheese cloth, and pour the milk through the cloth to catch the curds. What is left in the cheesecloth is the cheese. The liquid that you are pouring off is the whey. If you wish to save the whey to drink or use in your cooking or baking, put colander over a large pot to catch the whey (the liquid you are straining out). Gather the cloth around the cheese, and squeeze out as much of the whey as you can. After it is drained, wrap the cheese in plastic, or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. At this point you can “doctor” up the cheese anyway you wish. Try adding finely chopped jalapenos, ground salami, chopped peppers or just leave it plain.

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