Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cheese Makers Liberate and Unite

Does any one else have really fond memories of the 80's like I do? I hope so. The 80's were great for me. I had a life changing experience in '82 and everything was new and wonderful and the world was changing fast, it looked like for the good.

One thing I did in the 80's was work with agencies where we gave lessons to young mother. Usually young single mothers. They were like: cleaning with materials you can buy with food stamps, scratch cooking, using cloth diapers, gardens on your front porch when you don't have a yard. And you know what? Since they weren't required to come, and we usually had coffee and cookies - they showed up.

So I have this fascination or obcession, depending on which side you are on, that when I hear of making something I have to take it to it's barest parts. So those of us the most without can do it also.

When my friend Meghan's blog had how to do Mozzarella Cheese on it I had to make it! And it turned out great matching all of her pics! Then I started thinking. I know about the Homemade Cheese Book, I even own it. And at one time I even bought the supplies. But.... someone had to be able to do this on a farm, how did they do it? How can I figure out how everyone can do it?

So, first I will tell you have my mozzarella cheese adventure and then we will talk about cultures.

So with Meghan's pics and instructions I started to mess with the recipe about a month ago. This is what I came up with. When it says Citric acid use Lemon Juice. When it says Rennet use Apple Cidar Vinegar. When it says Lipase, ignore it for now.

Now, let me halt for a minute. I believe these recipes can only work for real milk from a mammal - so goats, etc are ok. But rice, soy, I can't see it working. I would refer you instead to The Farm, they probably can help. Also the more "whole" the milk is, the more cheese you end up with. So it is ok to use any % of milk, but do not worry if you do not get the same yield.

So I let my gallon of 2% milk get to 55 deg. And added my Citric Acid or Lemon juice. I would say 1/4 of a cup. I kept stirring and did see the small grains of curd, like Meghan's pics. Then at 90% I added the Rennet or Apple Cidar Vinegar. Now I use this liberally, just pour and watch the curd and whey divide. Now, because I am not using concentrated tools here, I let it go to 120 deg, kept stirring and man, oh man, was it working. Then I turned it off and added more Apple Cidar Vinegar, till I had a yellow liquid and white curds.

From there I just kept following Meghan's post and we had it tonite on Spaghetti and it was good.

This week I talked to a woman who has dairy cows and we discussed how we have to give up our pre-conceived ideas on what food is supposed to do and look like. This cheese does not melt. Neither does any cheese I make. But then I asked myself: Does it have to? Or is getting hot enough? Getting hot is enough for me.

Now if you really get into cheese making there are also starters that are called for in the recipe. There is Thermophillic Starter:

2 C very fresh milk

Heat to 185 deg.

Cool to 125 deg.

Add 1 heaping Tablespoon of fresh Yogurt (you made it right?)


Keep mixture at 110 deg for 8 - 10 hrs.

Pour culture in clean ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, remove cubes and put in labeled freezer bags. Resulting cubes = 1 oz of starter. The frozen cubes last one month.

For more starter thaw 1 cube and use instead of fresh yogurt in the above steps.

Then there is Mesophilic Starter:

2 C fresh Cultured Buttermilk

Let reach room temp of 70 deg

Allow to ripen for 6-8 hours, should have consistancy of thick yogurt

Freeze in ice cube trays, again equivalent to 1 oz and can store also for 1 month.

To make more starter thaw 1 cube and add 2 C fresh milk. Mix and let stand at 70 deg for 16 - 24 hours.

We can do this! We can make cheese! Now on this blog we have made 3 cheeses, yogurt, sourdough bread and the starters. We can take care of ourselves and enjoy it for ourselves. Now let's find a way to share it, one kitchen to one kitchen, to other women. Especially sharing with those of generations younger than us.


Meghan Conrad said...

Wow--great job! I'm going to have to try it with lemon and vinegar now.

The part that really boggles me about all this is that at some point, someone had to figure out that it happened. Hundreds of years ago, someone realized that if you mix X and Y and Z, you end up with delicious cheese. How incredible.

Omgirl said...

I am totally FASCINATED by this post! I have never really considered making my own cheese. But I do adore cheese. And I do adore cooking. Maybe I should try it??? It sounds so daunting! But you've half inspired me. I'm considering it. Maybe i'll find a book and try it this summer! THANKS!