Last month I took The Urban Farm Handbook Challenge over at Annette Cottrell’s blog, Sustainable Eats. March is home dairy month and I have decided to dive into the world of cheese making. I wanted to start small and easy because I am a cheese newbie. I choose the Lemon Farmer Cheese recipe because it is something that my boys would eat on a daily basis and looked fairly simple. I was right! It is super easy, very delicious, and has given me the confidence to try mozzarella next. Wish me luck!
Lemon Farmer Cheese
from Andrew Wilder's blog Eating Rules
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 mins
This is a soft, ricotta-like cheese, reminiscent of the “Farmer Cheese” my grandmother used to bring us when she visited from the Bronx. This recipe is from Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making.
- 1/2 gallon Whole Milk (2% will work, but produces a drier cheese)
- Juice of 2-3 Lemons, approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup
- Approx. 1/2 tsp. Cheese Salt (any salt will do)
- Finely chopped Herbs, such as chives, oregano, or lavender (optional)
- In a large pot over medium-low heat, gently bring the milk to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to stir frequently to keep from scalding the milk.
- Turn off the heat. Add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice and stir well. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- After waiting, the milk should be curdled, and the whey (the liquid) should be clear. If it’s stillmilky/cloudy, add more lemon juice, stir gently, and give it a few more minutes. Depending on the acidity of the lemon juice, it may take quite a bit more. It won’t hurt to use more, but if you use more than necessary, the final result will have a stronger lemon flavor.
- Line a colander with butter muslin and gently pour the curds into it. Allow it to drain for a few minutes, and then tie the corners of the muslin together to form a bag.
- Hang the curds to drain. I use a twist-tie and rubber-band combination to hook the bag from my kitchen cabinet.
- Allow to drain for 1-2 hours, until it stops dripping and has firmed up a bit. (If you’re in a hurry you can speed the process somewhat by squeezing the bag gently from the top down).
- Remove the cheese and mix in the salt and herbs to taste.
- Ricki says to store the cheese in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, but I guarantee it’ll be gone long before then.
This recipe can be easily doubled.
Throwback Road notes on this recipe:
1. This recipe is extremely easy!
2. I use pink Himalayan salt in my recipe, but any sea salt or kosher salt would be fine
3. I did not have any butter muslin, so a thin linen dish cloth was repurposed. It worked great.
4. While I was mixing in my salt, the cheese was a little to dry for me. I added 2 teaspoons of whey back into the cheese and it was perfect
5. Next time I will be more daring and add lots of herbs and spices!
Raw or pasteurized milk ( do not use Ultra Pasteurized Milk), salt and lemons is all you need! Pretty simple and very inexpensive.
This shot is right after I added the lemon juice to the 175 degree milk. You can see how it is just starting to curdle.
My make shift dish rag used for straining the cheese.
The funny thing about cheese making is that it takes a lot of milk to make a small batch of cheese. You are always left with a large amount of leftover whey. Jill over at The Prairie Homestead has a great article 16 Ways to Use Your Whey. What ever you do don’t throw it out! There are so many ways to use this nutritious liquid.
This is what my cheese looked like before I added my salt. Almost like a firm Ricotta.
The after shots…..I topped my Homemade Bread with farmers cheese and thawed strawberries from last summer. Mr. G liked his open face cheese sandwich drizzled with raw honey. This cheese is great because the lemon flavor is not overpowering and would be amendable to many herb flavors. I think I am going to try black pepper and chives for my next batch.
Have you ever made homemade cheese?