Thursday, April 3, 2014

Home made low fat cottage and cream cheese

We use fresh milk. We normally pick it up in the evening and then store it chilled in clear containers overnight so that we can take as much of the cream off in the morning as we can. We have tried different techniques but find using a big syringe works really well.
Add 2 to 3 tsp sea salt per litre of milk.
We use 7 litres of milk and add 3 Tbs salt.
Slowly heat the milk to between 25 and 35 C. We normally aim for around 30. Make sure you stir regularly so that the milk on the bottom does not get too hot and you are getting an accurate reading.
Add a pinch of starter and stir.
I use R704 which is a general purpose starter for soft and hard cheeses. This is the same one I use for Feta.
Add 1 drop of liquid rennet per litre.
Using a small syringe helps to get this right. It is important to stir while you add this.
I just bought a new supply of rennet and starter (as my old lot had expired months ago). It only cost me $28.50 for the Starter, Rennet and postage. The rennet will last me for two years (at which point it will again have expired and I will buy a new bottle). The starter lasts for many months. Now that we make 2kg of cheese every week I'm not sure exactly how long but we still know it will be many months before we buy again.
Cover and allow to stand at room temperature. We get this done by 9 or 10am and it's nicely set by the evening. This will depend on the temperature of your home.
You will see that it is set because the curds and whey separate. The photo is not all that clear - but the clear whey is visible above and around the curds.
Place cheese cloth (I use a double layer of muslin) into a strainer over a bigger bowl / pot and spoon the curds in.
I make such a huge batch that I end up filling my strainer and then just leaving it for an hour. Then there is enough space to put the rest in.
Make sure you have enough space under the strainer for the whey to collect. At least a third of the whey will come off within that first hour.
So I then fold the cloth over the top, cover and put back on the original pot (which is now empty).
I normally end up doing this between 9 and 10pm (9 doing the first half and then at 10 putting the rest in).
In the morning it has dropped down to about half the amount and the whey has drained off.
If you want chunky cottage cheese then just mix with a fork or spoon.
I like a smoother cream cheese and so just beat it for a few minutes till it's smooth.
Store in the fridge in air tight containers. When you pack the cheese in make sure you push it down and get the air out. This way it keeps longer (a few weeks - but I don't know for sure as it always gets used up). I also put a date sticker on so I know which batch it was. Once you have started using a tub it will not last as long (the air will eventually cause mold). I would say it should be used within a week.
My 7 litres of milk makes about 2kg of cheese.
I use one of these tubs (around 500g) for a double batch of THM Pan breads. I use two of them to make a double batch of THM basic cheesecake which Brendon and I enjoy for breakfast a couple of times a week (the cheesecake freezes really well.)

1 comment:

Buckland said...

We make about 10 litres now and I leave it to set till the next morning. This way I can check it as it drains out. I don't leave it to drain as long now (perhaps just to about half it's volute) and the cheese is not as dry. It whips up so smoothly now.