Monday, July 15, 2013

Cottage cheese

For those of you wanting to know specifics on my weekly cottage cheese making here are basic instructions:
Milk must be between 20 and 35 degrees Celsius (so room temp has been working for me which has been close to the ideal 25). I use fresh milk with all the cream in.
a pinch of group 1 or 2 starter (I have Mesophilic Homofermentative culture R704 - for Feta and other soft cheeses.)
1 to 2 tsp salt per litre
Stir those in so that the salt can dissolve and then while stirring add:
1 drop of liquid rennet per litre (apparently this is not necessary)
Allow to set (between 8 and 12 hours but may take up to 48 hours if you use less starter and if the temperature is lower).
Once curds are formed you can cut the curds or just spoon them into your colander. Cover the top with the sterile cloth to keep it clean - I just took the photos with the cloth open. And yes - I just use brand new kitchen cloths - they work really well as a "cheese cloth" for me and are cheap enough to use a new one every week.
Every hour or so I stir the curds to help the whey drain out. You can also collect the whey and use it to speed up the draining process (as pictured to the right). This only takes me a couple of hours.
And that's it.
I usually start my batch in the morning and start draining the curds later afternoon / early evening and it's done by the time I go to bed.
Once I left it draining in the fridge overnight to see if more whey would drain off but there was not much extra. So I just get it done and packed the same day. If there is extra whey that drains out in the container over the next few days - just pour that off before you use it.
Cottage cheese on toast is now Ruth's regular lunch choice. :-)
At the moment I make a batch every week and as I had extra over the weekend as well as extra cream I used them to make a cheese cake. I know you normally use "cream cheese" for a cheese cake and there is a bit of debate about the differences. Well - it worked fine for me.

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