I’ve been planning to do this for a while, and finally had the chance today: making lemon cheese. I’m using a recipe I found here. Do check this site out. Especially if you’re interested in different ways of preserving food, though there is lots more there, too.
After sanitizing my equipment, I started heating the gallon of milk.
Well… not quite.
This is Canada, and our “gallon” of milk is actually 4L, as you can see on the very handy measurement inside the stock pot I am using. A litre is just a bit more than a quart. At 4L, the difference is enough to warrant adjusting the quantities of the other ingredients.
Which are lemon juice and salt (I used Kosher salt).
For a gallon, the recipe called for 8 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1 Tsp of salt and I adjusted those quantities up slightly when I measured them out.
After heating the milk to between 185F – 190F (I got to break in my new candy thermometer. 😀 ), the milk is taken off the heat and the lemon juice is added. (I used 3% homogenized milk.)
It curdles immediately.
It then gets covered and left to sit for 15 minutes.
Which is when I dashed downstairs to do a quick build. The cheese would need to be hung to drain later, and we don’t have a good set up for that. We’ve made do with whatever we could come up with when making jelly or yogurt cheese, but we plan to be doing more of this sort of thing in the future, so having a rig to hang things to drain would be very useful.
Since we have also finished the basement and have some pieces of wood handy, I can actually do something about it!
When my timer went off, I’d reached this point.
There was just enough of the wood we used to build a frame to block the entry into the old basement, to cut 2 ft long side pieces. One of them is missing a chunk at one end, but it’ll do. I then cut a matching 2 ft long cross piece for the top, and a pair of base pieces.
Then my timer went off and I headed upstairs. Thankfully, my daughter was handy, and she took over with putting the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander over a bowl, to drain for 10 minutes. That was just enough time for me to finish my rig.
I used what screws I had that were long enough, which were really way too long for the job, but whatever. I also added a cup hook to the centre of the cross piece to hang things from.
It is a pretty ugly rig right now. Normally, I would have sanded the pieces and used more appropriate screws. It’s kinda wobbly, but steady enough for the job.
By the time I took it upstairs to give it a good cleaning, it was time to add salt to the cheese curds.
Here they are, after salting.
This is basically cottage cheese, really. My daughter had given it a quick taste after salting it and says it tastes quite different from cottage cheese, but we’re not washing the curds or anything like that, either.
The recipe then says to hang it for 30 minutes for a spreadable cheese, or up to 2 hours for a dry and crumbly cheese.
We were using a fresh cheese cloth, without cutting it down to size, so I ended up tying the cheesecloth around the cross bar instead of using the hook.
We checked it after half an hour and decided to let it hand for the 2 hours. We’ll see how it looks, then!
When we’re done with all this, I will probably take the rig apart and finish it properly. Give the pieces a good sanding, then screw it back together, with some wood glue to make it more stable.
I am so loving having that space in the basement to be able to do projects like this!!!