Friday, August 24, 2012

We Made Cheese!

{Beehive Cheese Company Promontory Cheese}

Helloooo!!!!  It has been a really...really....really long time since we have updated this blog!  It's been a year to be exact--but who says new resolutions have to start in January??  For the month of August we had our very first 'Cheese Class'.  We had a teacher, Doug, from the Beehive Cheese Factory (up in Weber Canyon) come down and teach us how to make cheese!  (...not to mention we had all you can eat cheese while we was pretty amazing)

We made mozzarella and ricotta cheese and my life will never be the same.  That may sound like an exaggeration...but just think of all the delicious food you can make with access to fresh cheese at your fingertips!! (ha ha!)

{SeaHive Cheese--my personal fav.}

{Barely Buzzed--hand rubbed with espresso and lavender...I ate so much of this that my "pure" system came home with a HUGE headache!!!}

Doug brought this book down--said it's one of his favorites for making cheese, but it looked a little complex to me...and I'm kind of lazy.  That being said...if anyone makes Gouda or Brie and needs someone to sample something, I am definitely not too lazy to drive over and take a bite!!

There were a few "special" ingredients that you need to make mozzarella...citric acid and rennet tablets...but a little goes a long way and it really didn't take that long!  I think he said that you could get them at Harmon's (???) But I know you can get them on Amazon too...

Or, of course, they sell kits--and everything is included :)

Okay!  Here is the start of the Mozzarella... it was cooked in this big pot on a stove's all about temperature and 'gentle' the recipe that will be at the bottom of this post if you want more specific instructions :)

Doug clipped an instant thermometer onto the side of the pot for quick reference...

And here he is cutting the want it to be diced, so... side to side, front to get the drift!

And how adorable is this?!?  Doug keeps a log of EVERY time he makes he can go back and compare and hone in on the specifics.  I for sure am way too lazy to do that!!!

When the mozzarella got to this point (we were letting it rest...), we took a break and started in on the ricotta...which, was cooked in the MICROWAVE!!!!  Seriously!  And all you need for this is whole milk and vinegar...and a little cheese salt.  SO EASY!!!

Cooking it in the microwave until it reaches about 185 degrees (and when Doug says "about" I think he really means "just"...)   Pretty soon, it starts to look all below!  Kind of reminds me of my kids sippy cups after they've sat in the car for three days...  ha ha!

Once it reaches 185 degrees, you add your vinegar.  Stir.  Allow to cool for about 20 minutes.  And then strain out the whey--add cheese and VOILA!  You're done!  See???  Easy!

p.s. this is a picture of the whey... Doug says that it's supposed to be this color--if it's cloudy then something has gone horribly wrong...

Now the mozzarella is mostly done, Doug is just kneading it to remove excess whey and to make it look prettier...more like real cheese...

Do you see the amazing transformation???   When you're done stretching and kneading the cheese (which, let's face only done to impress your students...) wrap it up and refrigerate it!  Or, if you're like it!   Doug says a gallon of milk makes about a pound of cheese and that it will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge...but I'm sure it would be eaten long before then.

Our beautiful mozzarella!!!  Although, it looked prettier than this...I think this picture came before he shaped it symmetrically.... 

And the ricotta!!!  My fav of the night--it was really just so good.  

Aren't our tiny caprese's the cutest???  Oh, and check out all these amazing things that I have dreamed up making with my homemade ricotta..... (p.s. click on the picture for the recipe!)

Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta Salata

Ziti with Grilled-Gazpacho Sauce and Sausage

Roasted Pears with Blackberries, Ricotta, and Lavender Sugar

And here are those recipe I've talked so much about!  Give it a try--and I hope you share how it goes!

      By Doug Manifold


Ingredients and Equipment:
     Whole Milk
     Vinegar, white distilled
     Microwave-Safe, 4 or 6 Qrt. Bowl
     Thermometer, 30 to 200-degree F range
     Big Spoons
     Fine Mesh Stainless steel Strainer and Cheese Cloth
     Measuring Spoons and Cups
     Microwave Oven

I have found the following to be the smallest practical sized batch of cheese to make. To make larger batches simply increase all of the ingredients proportionately.

Pour 4 cups of milk into a microwave-safe bowl

Place bowl in microwave and set for 5 minutes on high

Remove bowl from microwave and check temperature of mix – the target temperature is about 185 degrees F

If the temperature is less than 180 degrees F return it to microwave and cook on high for another 30 seconds

Remove bowl from microwave, if the milk temperature is 185 degrees F, add 4 Tablespoons (Tbls) of vinegar to the milk and stir gently for about one minute

Allow it to set for 10 to 20 minutes to cool and allow the curd to set

Suspend a strainer over a bowl, pot, or other container

Spoon curd into strainer and allow whey to drain – if curd is too weak, line strainer with cheese cloth to help collect curd

After most of the curd is drained, slowly pour the remaining whey through the strainer to recover the remaining cheese curd

Allow the curd to drain for 10 to 25 minutes - depending on how dry you want the cheese to be. If needed, stir the cheese in the strainer/cheese cloth with a spoon to drain faster

Put cheese in a bowl and add ¼ teaspoon of cheese salt, and mix well

Four cups of milk should produce about 6 to 8 oz of lovely fresh ricotta. Increase all ingredients for larger batches (i.e. for 6 cups of milk use 6 Tbls of vinegar and ½ tsp salt). Use the cheese as-is or put the cheese in a container, cover, and refrigerate. Cheese should keep for about a week, more or less, in the refrigerator. This cheese is a wonderful replacement for cream cheese in cheese cake recipes.

     By Doug Manifold


Ingredients and Equipment:
     1 Gallon Milk (Whole Milk, 2% Fat, or Fat-Free)
     1-1/2 tsp Citric Acid Powder
     1 whole tab Junket Rennet or ¼ tsp Liquid Rennet or ¼ tab Cheesemaking Rennet
     ¼ to ½ tsp Salt
     6 or 8 Qrt Stainless Steel or Non-Reactive Pot (Stainless steel is very important)
     Thermometer, 30 to 200-degree F range (More or less)
     Several Spoons of Different Sizes
     Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainer and Cheese Cloth
     Measuring Spoons and Cups
     Microwave Oven

Mix 1-1/2 tsp citric acid in ¼ cup milky or chlorine-free water, stir well and set aside

Mix rennet in milky or chlorine-free water, stir well and set aside

Pour milk into pot and place on burner. Set burner control to medium or medium-high. Heat milk to 55 degrees F. This may take 5 to 10 minutes. If it takes less than 5 minutes, the stove may be set too high. If more than 10 minutes the stove may be set too low. Adjust the heat as needed.

When milk reaches about 55 degrees F slowly add the citric acid mix and stir thoroughly

Continue to heat the milk and stir gently. At about 6 5degrees F small curd particles should start to form in the mix. Continue to stir gently

When the mix reaches 88 degrees F, add the rennet mix and continue to stir the mix gently for one-minute. This should be about 10 to 15 minutes after the citric acid was added. Adjust the stove temp as needed

Stop stirring, put cover on pot, and let rest until the curd attains a firm yogurt-like consistency. During this time the temp should remain close to 88 degrees F. If the temp drops below 88 degrees F in a few minutes, turn the heat back on for a few minutes to help return to the 88 degree F point. If the temp of the mix exceeds 90 degrees F, remove the pot from the burner and very gently place it on a wooden cutting board to cool to 88 degrees F.

Once the curd attains a firm set (about 5 minutes for liquid rennet or solid rennet tabs or about 30 minutes for Junket Rennet), using a long, thin blade, like a cake knife, cut the curd into roughly one-inch cubes, stir very gently, and let it rest for a couple of minutes

After this rest period, the whey should be draining well from the curds and there should be a good separation between the curds and whey. Return the pot to the burner and continue to heat to 105 degrees F in about ten minutes. Once the mix reaches 105 degrees F, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

Place the strainer over a pot, large bowl, or other container and begin to transfer the curd to the strainer with a large, slotted spoon. Gently press the curd into the strainer to help drain excess whey. If the strainer becomes too full, transfer the cheese to a microwave-safe bowl, put the strainer back over the container and continue to drain the rest of the cheese and place it in the collecting bowl.

Finally, pour the remaining whey through the strainer to recover as much cheese curd as possible

Place the bowl in the microwave and set to one minute on high

Remove the bowl from the microwave, check the temperature, and knead the cheese with a spoon to remove excess whey. Pour off the whey. The target temp is 145 degrees F.

Place the bowl back in the microwave and set to 30-seconds on high

Remove the bowl from the microwave, check the temperature, and knead the cheese with a spoon to remove excess whey. Pour off the whey

Place the bowl back in the microwave and set to 30-seconds on high

Remove the bowl from the microwave and knead the cheese with a spoon to remove excess whey.

Pour off the whey. Check the temperature of cheese curd – the target is 145 degree F

If the temperature is at or above 145 degrees F knead with a spoon to produce a smooth, shiny surface then add ¼ to ½ tsp of salt (salt to your taste preference) and knead the cheese with a spoon to blend the salt and begin to stretch the cheese until the surface becomes shiny and the cheese cools to the point that it no longer stretches easily. If you want to stretch the cheese for a longer time, place it back in the microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to soften it and to heat it back up to 140 degrees F

Once you finish stretching and kneading the cheese place it in a bowl of cold water and ice to cool it quickly then put the cheese in an air tight container, cove the container, and place it in the refrigerator.

Use the cheese as needed.

A gallon of milk should make about a pound of cheese. The cheese should keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, more or less.

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