Monday, October 10, 2011

0 Home Made Cheese vs Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Okay, well it's not exactly like you're going to make cream cheese but it is cheese and the texture and taste is a lot like cream cheese. This recipe is really, really easy and it's really, really cheap. It's often called Farmer's Cheese. Again, just like the yogurt I use raw goat milk but you don't have to. I'm not sure whether or not you can do this with soy milk, or low fat milk – someone give it a try and let me know, ok?

Home made Farmer's Cheese
½ gallon milk
1/3 c vinegar
1 tsp salt

Heat milk in a large pot, stirring continually. When the milk reaches about 165 degrees (just before boiling), turn off the burner and add the vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes. You will see the curds and whey separate. Put a cheesecloth (doubled), a dish cloth/towel or other loosely woven cloth into a colander/strainer*. Ladle the curds into the cloth, when all of the curds are in the cloth, add salt and stir gently. Pinch the cloth together above the curds, tie a piece of string around the cloth just above the curds (it will look like a sack), put it into a bowl to drain, hang it in the refrigerator with the bowl below it to catch the excess whey as it drains out. Let it drain for at least 6 hours – remove the cloth and wrap the cheese in plastic wrap. Serve cold.

* You can put a bowl under the colander and save the whey to use in soup or bread.

Price for Home made Farmer's Cheese: $1.96 for about 12-14 oz
Price for Philadelphia Cream Cheese: $2.99 per 8 oz package, or about $5.23 for 14 oz

Ingredients: Milk, vinegar** and salt.

Ingredients Philadelphia Cream Cheese: Nonfat milk and milk fat, cheese culture, salt, xanthan and/or carob bean and/or guar gums.

** I believe that you pour off all of the vinegar since it just separates the milk into curds and whey – but in the interest of fair play I'm including it in the ingredients list.

Preparation time: About 15 minutes to bring the milk up to temperature, 10 minutes to sit, 5 minutes to ladle it off, 2 minutes to hang it up – approximately 30 minutes

Preparation time: None

So, a 30 minute investment in time saves you $3.27 – that's not too bad... You can add herbs or spices to the cheese when you're adding the salt if you want to. Some ideas of things you can add are: extra salt, oregano, basil, dill, garlic, chives, crushed red peppers, etc. Extra salt will make it taste a little more like feta, garlic & chives will make it taste more like boursin. Make one plain to make sure you've got it right and after that experiment...

You can also use it to make something like cottage cheese. Don't hang & drain it, just ladle the curds into the cloth, when you're through – don't tie it off and hang it - just pour it into a resealable container, add salt, stir and you have a cheese product that looks and tastes like cottage cheese.

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