Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Cheese Making....

I have been making cheese regularly for quite some time now, ricotta and mozzarella mostly, Ebi-kun wanted to learn how to do it so we had a ricotta cheese making date.

What you need:
1.8l of pasteurised milk*
1/2 - 1 tsp citric acid**
1/4 cup water (60ml)
1/2 tsp cheese salt (coarse, iodine free salt)
a large pan, enough to hold all the milk and some space to spare
fine cheese cloth
large spoon

Measure your citric acid into the 1/4 cup of water and stir. Pour your milk into the pot and put on the stove, pour in the citric acid solution and the cheese salt and stir.
Gently heat the milk to 85degC to 90degC (180deg F -185degF) stir slowly to prevent scorching.
The curds should separate from the whey and look like this, make sure the whey (the watery bit) is no longer milky then turn off the heat. Allow to settle for 10 minutes.
Place your colander over a large bowl or pan then line it with the cheese cloth. Carefully pour the cheese into the colander. Let it drain for 20 minutes, if you like your cheese dry then leave it for longer. Whilst it is draining gently lift the corners of the cheese cloth and rock the cheese to help unblock areas.
Store in a cover container in the fridge and it will keep (in theory, it gets eaten too quickly here) up to a week.
* You MUST use pasteurised milk, UHT or sterilised will not work. If you are in Japan you want the milk that have 66 deg C 30分 on the box, the one we buy is made by Takanashi, you will need 2 cartons.
**start with 1/2 tsp of citric acid, if the cheese is the right temperature but not separated try adding a little more.

Sometimes the cheese doesn't turn out as expected, maybe I heated to high or added too much citric acid or some other reason I haven't figured out, but it always tastes good, I made some one week which was just like feta, not sure how I managed it but it was delicious!

Hey, what do I do with the whey? Don't chuck it out! The whey has all the good stuff in it. I put mine in a jug and stick it in the fridge then I use it instead of the milk and water when I make bread or pizza dough, you can also use it for soup stock or boiling pasta in. The bread and pizza base definitely tastes better when made with whey. If you are looking for a kit to get you started, I got mine from Urban Cheese Craft (if you order one from her, tell her I sent you!)

Ricotta stuffed chive pancakes have become a summer favourite in this house so Ebi-kun carried on and helped prepare the rest of the meal.
I think it is great for kids to make a meal from scratch, not only to they learn cooking skills, weighing and measuring, science they also learn how long it takes to prepare a meal and the care that goes into it. I certainly don't make every meal from scratch but I do try and make as much as possible plus I am rather skeptical about the amount of 'crap' that goes into processed food. Ebi-kun will ask to help quite often or sometimes he will get his cook book out and ask to make a specific recipe - usually when I have non of the ingredients in, sods law! Do your kids like to cook? What do they like to make?
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