Thursday, February 11, 2010

My sweet cottage.

My sweet cottage cheese that is. I've had more fun in the kitchen whiping up some fresh, made in my kitchen, cottage cheese. It was so easy I'm not sure why I put it off longer than I did. Here's what you need to get started.

1 gallon on whole, low-fat or nonfat milk. I decided to go for whole milk because I can be a rebel at times.
1/4 tsp liquid rennet (you can buy vegetable or animal rennet, I go with vegetable only because it seems to  make me less sick to my stomach thinking about vegetable rennet instead of animal rennet.)
2 TBS water for the rennet to dissolve in, yes even though it's liquid you need to mix it well with the water. DON'T SKIP THIS STEP.
1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
1 to 2 tsp salt
Start by pouring the entire gallon of milk into the largest pot you have. Preferably a heavy bottom one, makes it harder for the milk to scorch or burn. Heat the milk to about 95 degrees. While you're waiting for the milk to heat dissolve the rennet into the 2 Tablespoons of water.
Once your milk is warm enough you're going to add the rennet to the milk and STIR FOR 30 SECONDS. Time yourself, and make sure you do the full 30 seconds. Then stir in your buttermilk and watch the magic happen. Within seconds of pouring in the buttermilk, curds started to pop to the top. Look at that cheesy goodness below.

Now you need to take it off of the heat. You have one of those handy trivet things that my mom seems to collect?? Good, use that, it's perfect. Put a lid on the pot and walk away; just walk away for 30 minutes. You're going to want to peek at it, I wanted to and I tried to see around the condensation that formed on the glass lid but couldn't really see much.  This is what happens to cottage cheese when you let it sit for 30 minutes without peeking. It turns into one large curd.
Take a knife, a long one, and as best you can cut these curds into one inch cubes. It's going to try and swim away from you and you're not going to be able to do a bang up job of it, but try your best.

Then back onto the stove. Keep the heat on LOW, nothing warmer than low and start stirring gently for 5 full minutes. All you're doing is pulling the curds up from the bottom so they mix and heat up evenly with the rest of  the curds without burning. After 5 minutes you can gently stir the curds every 5 minutes. Do this for a total 30 minutes, or until the curds reach 110 degrees. Don't rush this step though by turning up the heat, it'll only burn and you'll have to throw out the entire batch. Trust me.
During one of your 5 minute breaks from stiring, line a colander with 2 layers of butter muslin or 3 layers of cheesecloth. Then place this colander over another colander and place them both in the sink.

Once your curds have reached the right temp, then carefully pour or ladle them into the butter muslin lined colander. Let this sit for 5 minutes so the majority of the whey can drain off.

Gather up the ends of your butter muslin and rinse the entire ball in cold water, squeezing the curds as you rinse.  The curds can take a beating so don't try and be gentle.

Once the curds are rinsed, then turn off the cold water and squeeze the bundle of curds still in the butter muslin dry. Dump into a bowl, stir in some salt to taste and keep covered in the fridge for 2 days.

 What did I make with this cottage chesse? You'll have to wait a day or two for that post, it's a yummy recipe. (It's really very white, I just couldn't get the yellow color to lift off of the picture any better than this, sorry) If you wonder why the cottage cheese isn't 'wet' like you would find in the market thats because all processed cottage cheese comes with heavy cream or light cream depending on the lable of the container. So if you want something more like a store bought cottage cheese just pour in a little heavy cream and enjoy. I've never tasted cottage cheese so glorious before.

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1 comment:

Amy Lynn said...

My Dad still talks about the homemade cottage cheese that you could buy at Riders Grocery here in Wytheville "back in the day". I am anxious to try this and see how it is! Thanks for sharing it!