Make your own crafts, gifts and clothes. Do it yourself home improvement, home décor and landscape. Make your own … cheese?
With step-by-step instructions on how to do just about anything available online, you can show off a variety of skills your friends and family don’t even know you have this holiday season. You may be thinking, why would you want to make your own cheese? The truth is, making cheese at home is a lost art, and very few people know how to do it. With over 2,000 varieties of cheese around the globe to choose from, it will be a huge hit at any seasonal party. It’s also easy, inexpensive and you can avoid adding all the artificial ingredients that come in store-bought cheeses. Here are a few tips on making artisan-level cheese from your very own kitchen:
Making cheese at home is simple and requires only a few tools and ingredients (some of which you may already have). For those you don’t own, you can buy them separately or in a cheese making kit.
Cheesecloth (to drain the whey from the curds)
If possible, choose stainless steel utensils as the steel is nonreactive.
Once you’ve assembled all of your ingredients, start by pouring milk into the saucepan and heating it slowly to 175 degrees Fahrenheit while stirring constantly. Whole milk works best, and you can use regular pasteurized milk from your local grocery store, or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can purchase raw milk or goat’s milk from a gourmet grocery or health food store.
Turn the burner off once the milk reaches the appropriate temperature, leave the pan on the eye and add the other ingredients according to the type of cheese you are making. Pass the curds and whey through the cheese cloth, using it as a strainer of sorts (the curds will be the cheese). Drain and press the cheese using the cloth to get the moisture out and add the salt. Mix the cheese and salt and press them again with the cloth to remove excess moisture.
If you want a hard cheese to eat in slices, put the cheese in a mold, or, if you want to use the cheese as a crumble, leave it in a ball form. Many cheeses are aged and ripened to achieve more complex tastes, so make sure to follow the instructions for the particular cheese you’ve chosen.
Refrigerate and eat or enjoy on a platter with charcuterie and veggies!
If you are concerned with wasting part of your labor, you can use the whey from cheese making for a variety of cooking endeavors. Salt it and use it as a stock for soups and stews, use it as the protein in shakes and smoothies or make ricotta cheese out of it.