A Simple Cheese

This cheese is usually called “farmer’s cheese” and it is a very straightforward and basic cheese for beginners.  It requires only:

1 gallon of milk, any type  ((I use our fresh homegrown goat’s milk, but you can use store-bought milk too, before we got our goats I used to practice cheese-making with store-bought milk :grin:))

1/2 cup of vinegar

Put the milk in a big pot and slowly heat to 180F, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.

Add the vinegar, slowly, while stirring the milk…you should see the curds begin to separate from the whey.

Turn off the heat and place the lid on the pot and let sit undisturbed for 20 minutes or so.  I usually go do some chore like dishes or fold and put away some laundry and then come back to it.

my “setup”…a colander suspended over a HUGE 13 qt. stainless steel bowl that I bought from a restaurant supply store 7 years ago, an indispensable piece of kitchen equipment… I use it for everything from cheese-making to kneading bread dough and for canning!

Pour into a cheesecloth lined colander (here I am using butter muslin, if you use regular cheesecloth you’ll want to fold it so there is about 4 layers) suspended over a bowl big enough to catch all the whey.  I usually save this whey and use it for bread baking, sometimes I feed it to the chickens.

Allow the cheese to drip for a couple of hours and then use the cheese “as-is”, at this stage it’s like a creamy ricotta.

OR move onto the next step and add about 2-3 tsp. salt to the curds and any flavorings like herbs or veggies (here I added about 3 small finely chopped Zavory Peppers..a heat-less habanero) mix it really well, the salt will continue to draw whey from the curds.

Once the cheese becomes mostly dry, lift up the corners of the cheesecloth and bring them together to wrap the cheese while continuing to squeeze out whey.

You can further press the whey out with an impromptu homemade cheesepress 😉

The final product is “feta cheese like” and perfect for sprinkling on some homegrown salads or homemade pizza!

((FYI: To clean the cheesecloth let soak in a sink of warm water to loosen the stuck on curds then add a bit of dishsoap and gently wash by hand…DO NOT use hot water as it will cause the curd to “bake” onto the cheesecloth making it near impossible to remove.  Rinse underneath running warm water and then squeeze as much of the water out as you can, spread out and hang somewhere to air dry.  It dries very quickly.  Carefully fold and put away for next time.))

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