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28 Day Real Food Challange: Day 18 - Making Cheese at Home

Posted Feb 19 2010 12:00am
Here's another project you can do at home: making your own cheese. I made some yogurt cheese the other day and they are great as an icing for cupcakes flavored with some fresh strawberry puree. You can also mix some herbs or sun dried tomatoes and spread them on bread. This is just the beginning and I have a few more to go.

You can make your own cheese and here's day 18 from Nourished Kitchen.

One of the greatest pleasures that can be had in your kitchen is cheesemaking. I know. I know. It seems complex. It doesn't have to be.

Cheesemaking, as with lactic acid fermentation, arose out of practicality: it provided a way for people to preserve milk for times when the cows naturally went dry. Today, we don't think of dairy products as a seasonal food, but they are, or, rather, they ought to be.

You see, cream and milk is at its freshest and most nutrient-dense in the early spring when young green grasses proliferate and grow. What a cow consumes, not only flavors her milk but also provides its nutrients. When grass, a cow's natural diet, is at its best and richest point, so, then, is the milk the cow produces. For this reason, dairying peoples across the globe valued the cream and butter produced during spring more greatly than the milk produced during the rest of the milking season.

In our home, when the cows from our cow share go dry, we don't rely on grocery store milks; but, rather, we rely on homemade cheeses and yogurts.

Doubtlessly some cheeses are difficult to make, requiring years of practice and exotic starter cultures, but, it can also be made simply and well with little more than a cheesecloth and a good quality homemade yogurt.

Today's assignment is to make your own cheese. If you're new to cheesemaking, begin by making labneh - a soft, spreadable yogurt cheese similar in consistency and flavor to cream cheese or neufchatel. If labneh doesn't strike your fancy, try making homemade mozzarella or ricotta, both of which are quite easy to prepare at home.

Day #18 Check List:

Make your own cheese:

  • Try making labneh or yogurt cheese, all it requires is fresh yogurt, a cheese or butter cloth and a rubberband.
  • Try making fresh mozzarella, it requires an acidic agent, rennet, salt, a thermometer and good gloves
  • Try making Indian paneer, it requires vinegar and milk
  • Try making an easy ricotta, all you need is cream, milk, salt and and an acidifying agent like lemon juice or vinegar
  • Or, if you're looking for something a little more exotic (my favorite is homemade feta cheese), consider picking up a cheesemaking kit or the book Home Cheesemaking by Ricki Carrol (see sources).
Further Reading:
Learn more about the value of natural, homemade cheese:
Have fun!

Love and light,

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