Saturday, January 16, 2010

Learning to Make Cheese

I'm still trying to catch up from last week's processing of homeschool convention booklets. We had milk in every refrigerator, since I didn't have time last week to do anything with it. I've attempted to make some sort of cheese every day as soon as the morning milk comes in.
I have a lot to learn when it comes to making cheese.
Since I hadn't ordered ingredients for making real Mozzarella cheese, I used a different recipe to make a mild cheese that still melts like Mozzarella. The ingredients are milk, vinegar and salt. I heated the milk to 140 degrees, then add vinegar -- and there is cheese! A day or so later the boys grate it for me, and we use it in pizza and lasagna. It tastes great!

I went on to heat the leftover milk product to 180 degrees and added a bit more vinegar, and the next product I got out of it was something similar to Ricotta. Sometimes it's drier than other times, so I have added some cream to it, and it worked in the lasagna just like the real stuff.

Last summer I helped in the kitchen of a local retreat center when they were hosting a Sons of Norway Norwegian camp. It was there I tasted a goat cheese called Gjetost. There are different spellings as well as names for this cheese. The Norwegians place it on bread (just a very thin slice) along with raspberry jam, and it was delicious! I determined then and there I was going to learn how to make it.

The lady that introduced me to it stated that the process needed both goat and cow milk, but I have since discovered there are three cheeses that can be made: whey from just goat milk, a combination of goat and cow milk whey, and whey from only cow milk. Our goats are dry now, so I will use cow milk until our goats are milked again in the spring.

I found a recipe on the Fankhauser cheese website, but it seemed hard to follow. About a year ago I purchased Ricki Carroll's book, Home Cheese Making, and found the recipe in there. I had lots of questions after reading her recipe, but forged ahead and made a batch.

Mysost (another name is Primost) is the result of taking the whey byproduct from making cheese and slowly boiling it down to where it carmelizes and thickens. Cream is added towards the end of the process, but that's all there is to the ingredients. This whole process has taken me from 6 to 12 hours. I can see why it's recommended that a wood cookstove be used instead of a conventional stove top -- that's a lot of electricity!

The first time I made a batch the end result was grainy, but that has only happened one other time and I think I've cooked up 5 batches. Each batch has given us approximately 30 ounces out of about 7 quarts of whey. Jim, Peter and I enjoy it on toast for breakfast, along with our homemade raspberry jam. It's easy to make if you have the time to spend in the kitchen close to the stove.


Kimberly said...

Wow! Your cheeses look delicious.

Marci said...

I never tried the soft cheese on pizza before. I will have to do that.

The hotter you make the milk, the more hard and rubbery the cheese. :)

TnFullQuiver said...

I am really impressed. I wish I were closer to play in the cheese with you. I have always wanted to learn how to make cheese. I am hoping when our cow has her calf then we will be able to milk and I can learn to make cheese too. Stay warm!!!
grace and peace,

Emily said...

Hi Lynn! How's the weather over there in ND? We're just winding down from getting several more inches of snow but it's not too cold out, thankfully. The bird feeders have been enjoying a brisk business all day but the squirrels decided enough was enough and went back to their nests after some early foraging.

Well, cheese. Yum. I have a link for you:

She has wonderful recipes that are easy. The whole website is full of great nutrition information, too. Are you making yogurt, too? Kefir? We're been buying raw (cow) milk from a local farm but I have not yet ventured into the realm of cheese and yogurt making. The milk is expensive at $9 a gallon so it gets either drunk right up or used in bread.

Have a blessed day in the Lord! ~hugs~

Heather said...

What does the myost taste like? I tried making it once and it was disgusting so I am sure I did something wrong.

The Krahns said...

Hi! We got our convention booklet, thanks!

Lynn Bartlett said...

Thanks. Now I need to work on making real Mozzarella and others.

Wish I could come visit some day and see how a pro makes cheese.

Believe me, you will have lots of milk to use for cheese. We are getting 5 gallons per day! Even with 5 males in the family we can't drink up even a good portion of all that milk! I love your recipes (what a good cook!), and you will have no problem making cheese. Wish you were closer to work together on cheese. It's quite a learning experience.

Actually our weather has been great -- even up to 40 above! Now we are gradually cooling off once again. That's okay, we are over the hump and spring is not too terribly far away.

Thanks so much for the link to the cheese site. I checked it out today, and was excited to see what this lady has over there. I haven't even tasted kefir yet! We make a lot of yogurt, and are just getting started on cheese.

I'm amazed at what you have to pay for raw milk. Probably the most we could ever get for it would be about $6.00/gallon, but then, it's illegal to sell it outright in our state.

You'll have to stop by on your way through to your parent's place and give Mysost another try! I read somewhere that people either love or hate it, and three of us here happen to love it. You may be on the other side! I can't really explain the taste, but it's very creamy (when made correctly), and just melts in your mouth. The key is to not have too thick of a slice or it gets kind of overpowering.

Hoping you can make it to convention!

Heather said...

I'm so tickled to hear you are getting more milk - last I heard it was 2 gallons a day and 5 gives you some extra to play with, some to give to pigs and chickens and lots of cream for butter. I still have not milked our cow since her 5 month old calf is happily drinking it all and I found a steer nursing from her, but that will stop as soon as I can kick our heifer back out - Ben wants to AI her tomorrow and then I will have my pen back for Dottie. I don't think you'll meet a gentler cow anywhere although she is also very stubborn :).
I was going to phone you today - what a shock to myself! - but realized Ben had the cell phone. I finally decided to ignore my worries that you are too busy for a phone call as Donna informed me that you wouldn't mind. :)
Mysost - tasted like grainy burnt cream that I let sit on the stove so I am sure I did it wrong. LOL It sounds like you are becoming a great cheesemaker and will soon be doing way more cheese than I ever did. I had plans of ordering some cultures as I wanted to do mozza and feta mainly (okay, neufchatel, cream cheese and some of the Bulgarian yogurts are divine too), but didn't know what I would do with so much culture as I usually cultured some milk and then froze it in icecube trays to make cheese so the initial culture lasts you forever and a day.
I must run as the rest have fallen asleep waiting for me!

WendyO said...

Hi; just wanted to thank you for all you contribute to the NDHSA convention. We got our booklet and are impressed with the workshops available this year. Our kids are so excited (as this may be our only "vacation" this year!)to attend. And thanks for sharing your exploits online!
We hope to meet you at the convention.
Happy cheese-making! God bless,
Wendy O'Neill, Driscoll, ND

Lynn Bartlett said...

Heather, I have lots to learn about using cultures, etc. If I have time tonight or tomorrow I will dig in and make Mozzarella. I made Feta cheese, and didn't care for the taste. I keep thinking it should taste like the kind you can purchase at the store. Maybe that will happen when I make it with goat cheese. Call any time!

Thanks for your kind comments. I'm looking forward to the convention, and we'll have to visit. See you soon!