I am having one of those moments, where you are totally empowered by something you just learned. Right now, I feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away when he made fire for the first time. You know what I'm talking about....
Now just imagine me (not topless, thank you) yelling this to the heavens:
"I HAVE MADE CHEESE!"
Yes, I made cheese, and it's easy and awesome and I can't wait to share it with you.
First, let me be clear. I didn't make very fancy cheese - I made farmer cheese (or paneer, it's Indian cousin). It's the simplest cheese to make because there are only two ingredients, you don't need rennet, and there's no aging involved.
1 gallon milk (local and organic, I've heard raw is best but I didn't do that this time)
1/2 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but I've heard any kind works)
First, heat the milk to a slow boil stirring frequently.
While the milk is hot, add in the vinegar slowly. The milk will start to curdle - separating into curds and whey.
Once the mixture is fully separated, you will need to strain the curds through a cheesecloth (I used a strainer as well).
You may need to jiggle around the mixture to get all the whey out.
Combine the edges of the cheesecloth and tightly wrap with a rubber band before twisting all the water out of the curds. Let the ball sit (or you can hang it) for 2 hours and it will form the shape of the cheesecloth. Then you can unwrap and use your soft ricotta-like cheese for lasagnas, blintzes, you name it!
Solidified cheese! I added in some salt to the mixture and sliced it into pieces before adding a mixture of fresh herbs to the tops. This mixture is sea salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary.
Paneer cheese is also delicious cubed and fried, as they often do in Indian cuisine. Mmm, the possibilities!
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