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Archive for November, 2013

Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese Curds

I have had a few customers wanting to know how I make cheese. Here is the recipe I use, with pictures! I have tried several recipes and this one is very easy and forgiving. I have had several times where I have been in the middle of making a batch and had to leave the house. When I return I am able to pickup where I left off and it always turns out great! You will need the following:

1 gallon raw milk, it is better if you use milk that has been in the fridge for several days. If you use very fresh milk it will not yield as much cheese in the end

Mesophillic culture  get it here http://www.cheesemaking.com

Liquid Rennet  also available at the above site

thermometer

salt

pot to hold milk

cheese cloth or flour sack towel

Step One:

Heat milk to 85* remove from heat and stir in 1/4 tsp mesophillic culture.

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Let sit covered for 1 hour. When time is up Mix 1/2 tsp. liquid rennet with 1TBL. cool water, then add to milk while stirring. Please read your bottle of rennet, some are double strength and you may need to add only half of what the recipe calls for.

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Stir well and cover and let sit for 1 hour. Please note this is sitting on the counter at room temperature. When your hour is up the rennet will have made your milk “set” up. It should look like this. You will need to stick a knife in it to test for a clean break. You can see that when I cut into it it leaves a line in the curd.

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Then cut crosswise, going both directions.

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Return the pot to the stove top and on low heat slowly heat it up to 100* while stirring occasionally. You should be able to heat it up to temp within 30 min. when it reaches 100* remove from heat and cover, let sit for 30 minutes.

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This will expel a lot of the whey from the curd. When your time is up and you take the lid off it will look like this, with the curd settled to the bottom and the whey on top.

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Next pour into a cloth lined colander to drain. You can save the whey for other things if you like.

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Then tie the corners of your cloth and hang to and let the whey drip. I usually test to see if it has dripped long enough by squeezing it to see if not very much comes out when squeezed.

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Then remove from cloth and cut into cubes.

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Place cubes into a clean bowl. Then let the bowl float in the kitchen sink in very warm water, this will expel more whey from your curds.

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You can see in the above picture how the bowl floats in the warm water, and how it will pull more of the whey out. When you get whey in your bowl simply drain it off, being careful not to loose your curds while draining, and if needed refill sink with warm water if it has cooled off.  Repeat this process several times, until not much whey is coming out. I have been know to get the water in my sink a little too hot, thus melting my curds together, oops! If this happens it is no problem, you can simply cut them back apart in the final step.

When you feel most of the whey is out of your curds, turn it out and cut back into pieces if needed, put back in your bowl and toss curds with a generous amount of salt. This will also bring out a little more whey.

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Then place cheese on a rack over a cookie sheet to drip a little more. Not much will come out at this point. Then put in container and refrigerate, or start eating, your cheese is done! It will be a bit squeaky between your teeth. We always need to add a bit more salt for our taste. This cheese is good with crackers, or grated on salad, tacos, or even on pizza.

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I made a double batch using two gallons for the above pic of the cheese on the rack. If I double the recipe I simply use two pots instead of combining it all in one and doubling the ingredients. It never turns out as good if I put two gallons in one pot, so I just dirty up two pots, so I know it will all turn out correctly. Let me know how your cheese turns out, have fun with it! I do not know how long this will stay good in the fridge, we eat it before it can ever get to the point of going bad 😉

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