Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Cheese Day

I've got 2 projects in the works for this week and another in the planning stages. First I'm picking up my side of pork tonight, woo hoo! So that'll be good fun to have the meat put away in the freezer. I'm not sure what it'll have dressed out like but farm fresh pork is always good and ours is a yorkshire/berkshire cross so that should make for a more flavourful meat than is typically found in the grocery store. The butcher is cutting me a slab for smoking into bacon so tomorrow I'm sure you'll want to read about how I'm building myself a smokehouse and see how it's going getting the meat ready. I'm also going to pick up some more ginger root so I can make some Ginger Ale but I need to locate some glass bottles first that have screw on lids. I don't have a corker so that's out but you can get bottles with a permanent stopper/lid that's attached and held on by pressure, like some of the old fashioned jars. They're great for syrups and thin sauces too because they're resealable. But they're pricey, often costing upto $4 per bottle compared to a reusable plastic bottle that might cost you under 75 cents. If you're seriously into making your own pop and soda though then the glass bottles can't be beat for ease of use and durability. As long as you don't drop them! Now I just need to find a U-Brew and pick up a dozen or locate some online that are second hand. That'll look good eh? A good little Mormon girl going into a U-Brew. But making gingerale and rootbeer can be so much fun! And the flavour is nothing like the insipid stuff mass produced for the grocery store. it would be a perfect gift for my ginger loving husband.

My project in the planning stages is cheesemaking. Biggest problem of course is sourcing the milk. So I'm going to order more rennet and maybe make soft ricotta or cream cheese using store milk and lemon juice in the meantime. It's a fun sciency/cooking project and it's fast. You can make it and eat it the same day. Here's the recipe and it's super easy. Take 4 l milk. Preferably full fat non-processed but store bought milk can work too. Heat over a low-medium heat until hot and until a light foam appears on the top but don't let it boil. Remove from heat. Squeeze a lemon or two until you have 1 cup of fresh lemon juice. Strain it so there are no bits. Mix into the milk and slowly stir, watching to see the curd form from the reaction with the acid in the lemon juice. Next let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool down a bit, I usually let it sit for upto a half hour. Take a large colander and line it with a couple of layers of clean cheese cloth or really any clean fabric or stocking will do but if you use fabric make sure it's clean and use only a single layer. Place the colander and cloth into a sink or over a deep bowl to catch the whey and then gently pour in the milk mixture. Bring the sides of the cloth together to form a sort of bag and secure with a clip or a rubber band. Let the whey drip from the colander for at least 25 minutes and up to an hour or more if you've got the time. If you have it dripping into your sink be sure that the bottom of the colander isn't sitting in whey but up a little bit. Put your newly formed fresh unripened cheese in the fridge after you have salted to taste (if you want to add salt) and it'll keep for 2-3 days. It's good to eat on fresh bread with jam or on biscuits too. We also use it in lasagna if it lasts more than a day which is rare as our kids like it. We use the whey as pig or chicken food but you can also use it to bake bread in place of the water. You should use a non-reactive pot for heating the milk which means enamel lined or stainless steel. Both aluminum and copper are reactive with the acids in foods.

Here's another more traditional method to try if you have rennet. I'll make up some easy method ricotta and take a picture or two to show you. I know Kate would love to help.

There's the kids bus. I should go and protect my loaves of banana bread from the horde of ravenous beasts.

****UPDATE: I'm so thrilled to report that I found a source for real milk while out getting my side of pork tonight. I guess it really works to just talk to everyone! Woo Hoo! Oh shoot...first I've got to order the rennet.****

1 comment:

  1. Hi Elizatbeth, the bottle depot or liquor store might be a good spot to get those glass stopper bottles. I buy my beer in 1L bottles like you picture for $7! There are also brands that come in 330ml bottles with with the stoppers. You might be able to get them for the cost of deposit.

    Just an idea