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Friday, 28 January 2011

Blessed are the Cheese Makers

... and all purveyors of dairy products... My 1st steps in cheese making began with...

Lemon Cheese


this is the most simple method of making a very basic (but deliciously lemony) curd cheese. 
I had one or two concerns before beginning.  Having read quite extensively on the making of cheese (something I do before embarking on any new project - not reading about cheese, I mean reading up on the proposed project... oh I'm sure you know what I mean.) I discovered that it is extremely important to be very very clean.  Mmmm... and cheese should not be made in the same area that you make bread... mmmm... I make bread at least twice a week and one loaf of sourdough every week so there are definitely quite a few wild yeasts roaming my kitchen.  Would this spoil my cheese making endeavours?

First I brought the milk (full fat) up to 38 degrees C.



...then I added the juice of two lemons.  No rennet is required for this cheese.


I stirred it well - the curds are forming already.  It was quite satisfying to see.


I covered the pot and left the curds for half an hour.


During which time I blanched a piece of perfectly clean muslin.  You blanch it by immersing it in boiling water for a while and then wearing my super strength rubber gloves I gave it a good wringing out and draped it over the inside of a brand new collander bought specifically for the purpose of making cheese. 




Then I carefully spooned out the curds into the collander.



Next I tied the muslin up and suspended the curds from a hook with the collander and bowl underneath to catch the whey.


The book said that I need only leave it an hour before the cheese would be ready, but after an hour it was still a little too wet so I left it for three hours in total.



Then I weighed it.  One litre of milk produced 156 grams of lemon 'cottage cheese' type curds. 


I added a little salt to them.  The salt did improve the flavour quite a bit but they are still very lemony to taste. 

 The lemon cheese will keep in the fridge for about a week.  Suggestions for their use - apart from on crispbread with cucumber or something similar - include mixing with finely chopped strawberries and serving on warm scones... mmmmmmmmmmm.

3 comments:

  1. I've made paneer a few times - along similar lines but with less lemon juice and more squeezing so the curds are more compact and can be sliced. That's great in a curry.

    Perhaps if you use a slotted spoon for scooping the curds into the muslin, they wouldn't be as wet so wouldn't need as long to drain?

    I went on a cheesemaking course a few months ago and we spoke about the problem with yeasts -- it's much more of a problem when making hard cheese, where it has to sit for a few months and any yeast or bacteria in there can grow and grow (especially since bacteria doubles every 20 mins!). It's one of the things that's holding me back from making hard cheeses actually - our kitchen is clean but not sterile and I'm not sure I'd want to put all that work in for it to get contaminated...

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  2. Hi Louisa - thanks for the tips, very useful information. Like you, I consider my kitchen clean, but it certainly isn't sterile and I have a great fear of poisoning the family. Good to know that it probably wont be an issue with the kind of cheese I want to make. My next endeavour will be a soft cheese made with rennet and set in a mould... mind you it could take me some time to get around to that.

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  3. You can use buttermilk to create the curds instead of lemon, this gives you a more mild cheese that is very tasty ^_^

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