There is a certain mystery surrounding the art of cheese making. It seems an antiquated, highly involved and painstaking process which requires a few cows, a farmhouse, a knife worn wooden chopping block, a bandanna to hold back stray hair, and months of patience. While in some cases this is true, last night I made a basic cheese in 2 hours without any of the aforementioned modern luxuries.
All you need to make cheese in a New York City apartment is a 1/2 gallon of milk (preferably organic whole milk), 1 quart of buttermilk (also organic), a pinch of salt, and cheese cloth.
While the 1/2 gallon of milk was heating on the stove, I layered three pieces of cheese cloth in a strainer.
When the pot of milk began to bubble, I added the buttermilk while stirring. Instantly the milk separated into curds and whey. After adding salt, the curds and whey were poured into the cheese cloth strainer, leaving only the curds behind. Gathering the ends of the cheese cloth together, I squeezed and squeezed until most of the liquid left the curds. At this point, I realized that my layers of cloth had not been pushed together enough, and some curds had seeped through to the outer layers. Not a huge loss, but it made the cheese less aesthetically pleasing.
Twisting the cheese cloth tightly around the cheese, I secured it with a string and hung the bundle on a metal spoon over a curd encrusted pot (yum) to dry.
And then, I went to a party, leaving the cheese to sit. When I came home several hours later to unwrap the bundle, this is what I found:
It may not be beautiful, but it tastes like delicious cheese! While this recipe definitely did not call upon the art of cheese making, it was good enough for my first time. Check out this cheese making for beginners syllabus. Maybe a spring/summer project?