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Saturday, January 5, 2013

A crash course in cheese making

For some reason, cheese making has long been seen as one of the ultimate home cooking feats. And rightly so, because it is!! For any cheese making novice, ­­successfully making your first cheese is a memorable moment.  Although I haven’t “arrived”in the Cheese making world, I have definitely left off (:


A crash course in cheese making

You got milk?

The main ingredient is ….you guessed it, milk! The quality of your milk determines the quality of your cheese. You can choose to use raw or pasteurized whole milk. If you have a cow or goat in your backyard, you can use raw milk. 

However, if you can’t play Heidi milking your cow wearing clogs, just walk to your nearest supermarket (: I would definitely opt for the latter option. Although many foodies say there are advantages of using raw milk, Pasteurization kills all the harmful bacteria in milk; it’s simply just the safer option.
When buying Pasteurized milk, opt for a “low temperature, long time” milk. (62˚C/145˚F for 30 min)
High temperature, short time pasteurization (72˚C /162˚F for 15 sec) such as UHT milk or any other Ultra pasteurized milk (like Steri milk, or Long Life ) will NOT make cheese!...note to self.. Instead, it will only make you VERY disappointed, and leave you staring at your pot of bubbling milk wondering why on earth it hasn’t magically transformed into cheese.
The reason for this is that the high temperatures of ultra pasteurization denature the whey proteins that  cling to casein particles to form a curd.

Curdling agents

A curdling agent is something you add to your milk to make it curdle(sounds obvious right?) It usually alters the acidity levels of the milk,  and offsets a magical metamorphosis  that transforms your milk into creamy soft  lumps called ‘curds’….right before your very eyes!

The type of curdling agent you use varies, and depends on the type of cheese you want to make. To name a few – Rennet, mesophilic, thermophilic, buttermilk …… bla bla bla..For this beginner cheese just pull out the good old bottle of vinegar / the juice of a lemon.These are sufficient to yield a beautiful curd.
This website has great tips for cheese making. www.cheesemaking.com

Whey’ more than just cheese..

I’m all about recycling, and optimizing ingredients. The great thing about making cheese is that nothing goes to waste. After the milk curdles, you are left with a yellowish liquid called ‘Whey’. DO NOT THROW THIS AWHEY (:  You can  add it to… well almost anything.. Almost! (: A great idea is to use the whey to make a homemade loaf of tangy sourdough bread! (that will go great with your cheese)


Sanitize

To avoid contaimnating your milk with unwanted bacteria you need to sanitize your equipment and  ultensils. Do this by placing them in boiling water for 10 minutes or running them through the hottest cycle in a dish washer.

Visit again soon to learn how to make your fist cheese!
See you ladle!
Sanja


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