A Cheesy Post – How to Make an Easy Soft Cheese

Last night, I made cheese and I found it to be pretty darn tasty, pretty darn easy, and pretty darn cool.

This is basic soft cheese to which I decided to include lots of fresh herbs.  You can add whatever herbs you have in your garden.  I really think fresh herbs are the way to go with this cheese.

What you need:

Ingredients:

  • half gallon of milk – I used raw milk, make sure what you use is NOT Ultra-pasteurized.  That denatures the proteins, and you won’t get cheese, you’ll get a mess)
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice – I used the juice of two lemons, but the rule of thumb is that one lemon should yield a 1/4 cup of juice.  This doesn’t have to be exact.  As long as it’s about 1/4 cup. You can even buy lemon juice, but if you’re making cheese, I suspect you’re the type to squeeze the juice.
  • Fresh Herbs – This is where you make the cheese something you like.  I used fresh parsley, garlic and salt.  This is what I fresh and on hand.

Equipment:

  • Large Pot
  • Spoon
  • Thermometer – you needed this to make homemade yogurt, so I’m sure you have it on hand from that project.
  • Sieve
  • Bowl
  • Cheese Cloth – This can be washed and used again.
  • Rubber Band

Let’s get started!!

Pour a half gallon of milk into your pot, and turn stove onto medium high heat, stirring often to assure the milk does not get scalded.

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Once the milk reaches about 180 degrees F, and do not allow to go about 200 degrees.

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add your lemon juice,

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And Stir.  At this point it will start to curdle.  The solids are the curds, the liquid is the whey.

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Remove from the heat and hands off the mixture of lemon juice and milk for 15 minutes.  While you are waiting, place your sieve on top of the bowl:

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Add the cheese cloth to the sieve.

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While waiting for the 15 minutes to pass, this is a good time to chop up your herbs and get them ready.

When those 15 minutes are over, pour the curds and whey into the cheese cloth.  The whey will flow through and the curds are what you will be turning into cheese.  I added my herbs at this point.  I added about 1/3 cup of fresh chopped parsley, 3 Tablespoons of Salt and two small cloves of fresh garlic.  This cheese is garlic heavy, so you may only want one clove.  Or none.  This is where you get to put your spin on this recipe.  Have fun, experiment and make it your own.

Stir these herbs in.  This will cause some more of the whey to come out.  You’ll want to allow this to drain for about an hour.  The best way to do this is to hang up the cheese inside the cheesecloth using a rubber band and your cabinet.  Remember to keep a bowl underneath the cheese to catch all the glorious whey.  Please save this whey.  This is packed full of protein and can be used as a smoothie additive and is an ingredient when lacto-fermenting foods.

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After letting it drain for about 2 hours, scrape the contents of the cheesecloth into a storage/serving container and give a final mix.  Also, give it a taste to make sure that you don’t need to add any more herbs.

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This cheese is best enjoyed on a rye cracker or freshly made crusty bread.

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I hope you enjoy making your own cheese and putting your own spin on it.  What herb mix are you going to try and how did it work?

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