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FRESH CHEESE KIT BOOKLET

  1. Fresh Cheese

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese makes a wonderful addition to salads or sandwiches, or as a garnish for meat or vegetables. Generally made with goat milk, it can be made with cow
milk if desired.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon goat or cow milk
  •  1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet
  • 1 packet mesophilic starter culture or 1 tablespoon yogurt
  •  1/8 teaspoon calcium chloride (optional)

Brine Solution for Aging the Feta
(Optional):

  • 1/3 cup non-iodized salt (Celtic, kosher, etc.)
  • 1/2 gallon filtered water

Supplies:

  • A large pot (if metal, be sure it's non-reactive
  • such as stainless steel)
  • A wooden spoon
  • Colander
    Curd knife or other long blade knife
  •  Thermometer
    Butter muslin or tea towel

Instructions:

  1. Warm the milk in a stainless steel (or other non-
    reactive) pot to 86°F. If using calcium chloride (see the note on page 2), dilute the calcium chloride in 1/4 cup of water and incorporate it into the milk as it starts to heat up.
  2. Add the culture to the milk and stir thoroughly. Allow the
    milk to sit undisturbed for an hour at room temperature.
  3. Once the milk has sat, dissolve the rennet in 1/4 cup cool,
    chlorine-free water. Mix the rennet into the milk using
    an up-and-down motion with your spoon (not a stirring
    motion). Incorporate the rennet but do not over-mix.
  4. Place a lid on the pot and let the milk mixture sit
    undisturbed overnight. The next morning, check that the
    milk has gelled and there is a clean break in the curd.
  5. Use a knife to cut the curd into 1/2 x 1/2-inch cubes. If
    necessary, use very clean hands to check the bottom of the
    pot for curds that may have been missed.
  6.  Gently stir the curd off and on over the next 20 minutes. The curds
    should become somewhat retracted.
  7. Place butter muslin, tea towel, or multi-layered cheese
    cloth in a colander. Pour in the curds and allow the visible
    whey to drain off. Once the whey has drained, tie the cloth
    in knots and hang it over the sink or a bowl.  Allow the curd
    to drain for another 4 hours or until no more whey drips off.
  8. While feta can be eaten fresh, the flavor is more pronounced
    if it is aged in a brine solution. Make a brine solution using
    1/3 cup non-iodized salt and 1/2 gallon of water. Place the
    curds in the brine solution in a jar with a lid in the fridge.
    Brine for 4 to 5 days if using store-bought milk or for 30 days
    if using farm-fresh milk.
  9. Note: When homemade feta is brined, it can develop a very creamy texture and may not resemble store-bought feta.

 

 

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese makes a protein-rich breakfast or snack and is a relatively simple cheese to make at home. This recipe makes a large curd-style cottage cheese and this method is generally known as a short-set.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon cow milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet
  • 1 packet fresh cheese culture
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride (optional)

     

    Supplies:

    • A large pot (if metal, be sure it’s non-reactive
      such as stainless steel)
    • A wooden spoon
    • Colander
    • Curd knife or other long-blade knife
    • Thermometer
    • Butter muslin or tea towel

     

    Instructions:

    1. Heat the milk to 70°F.
    2.  Remove the milk from the heat and allow the mesophilic
      culture to dissolve on the surface of the milk for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Once dissolved, thoroughly incorporate the starter culture into the milk. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.
    3. If using calcium chloride, mix the calcium chloride in 1/4 cup of water. Add the mixture to the milk. Using up-and-down strokes (don’t stir!), incorporate the rennet into the milk. Do not over-mix. Calcium chloride results in firmer
      curds and is helpful when using milk from the grocery store which is generally more processed than farm-fresh milk.
    4. Dissolve the rennet in 1/4 cup of water. Add the rennet mixture to the milk. Using up-and-down strokes (don’t stir!), incorporate the rennet into the milk. Do not over-mix.
    5. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 2 hours or until a firm curd has formed (milk should appear solid).
    6. Use a knife to cut the curd into 1/2 x 1/2-inch cubes. If necessary, use very clean hands to check the bottom of the pot for curds that may have been missed.
    7. Once the curd has been cut, allow it to sit for 5 minutes then stir gently for 2 to 3 minutes.
    8. Warm the curd gently over low heat for 1 hour stirring
      continuously but gently. Stirring keeps the curds separated and allows the curds to heat evenly. Be careful to increase the temperature of the curd only 2° to 5°F every five minutes. It may be necessary to adjust the heat during the process.
    9. When the curd reaches 115°F, hold the heat at 115°F for 10 to 15 minutes. (You might need to turn the heat on and off to maintain temperature.) Continue to stir the curd to ensure even heating. The curds should be about the size of shelled peanuts, should be firm but not hard, and should bounce without breaking. Some experimentation may be necessary to find the right
      cooking period.
    10. Carefully spoon the curd into a colander lined with a tea towel. Allow the whey (clear liquid) to drain off. Rinse the curds in very cold water and
      allow them to drain completely removing all traces of whey.
    11. Salt the curds and place in the refrigerator to chill. The cottage cheese can be eaten in this dry state. If creamy cottage cheese is desired, add 1/2 cup whipping cream to the chilled curds. Store in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.

     

    Cream Cheese

    Cream cheese is fantastic spread on crackers and bread or used as a base for dips, cheesecake, or frosting. Cream cheese is very easy to make and is a great option for beginning cheesemakers.

     

    WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 quarts whole cow milk or a combination of
      milk and cream (up to 50% cream)
    •  1 packet fresh cheese culture or mesophilic
      starter culture
    • 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet
    •  Cheese salt

    Supplies:

    • A pot big enough to hold 2 quarts of milk
    • (stainless steel or other non-reactive material)
    • A large spoon or rubber spatula for stirring
    • Thermometer
    • Colander
    • Butter muslin or tea towel

       

      Instructions:

      1. Heat the milk to 75°F.
      2. Remove the milk from the heat and allow the cheese culture to
        dissolve on the surface of the milk for 2 to 3 minutes. Once the
        starter culture is dissolved, thoroughly incorporate the it into the
        milk.
      3. Dissolve the rennet tablet in 1/4 cup of water. Add the rennet
        mixture to the milk. Using up-and-down strokes rather than a
        stirring motion, incorporate the rennet into the milk. Do not
        over-mix.
      4. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to culture for 14 to 16 hours at 70°-75°F.
      5. After 14 to 16 hours, the cheese should look like yogurt (solid if
        tipped but still relatively soft). You may see some whey separating
        from the cheese. Place a piece of butter muslin (doubled) or tea
        towel in a colander in a bowl. Gently spoon the cultured milk
        into the butter muslin. Gather the corners of the muslin up and
        tie knots to secure.
      6. Hang the butter muslin filled with the cultured milk over a
        bowl so the whey can drain. An easy way to do this is to tie the
        butter muslin around a cupboard handle so the bowl to catch the
        whey can rest on the counter underneath.
      7. Allow the cream cheese to drain for 6 to 12 hours to reach the
        desired consistency. 
      8. Knead salt into the cheese to flavor.
      9. Store in the refrigerator. Use within a week.

       

       

       

      Fromage Blanc

      Fromage blanc is a soft spreadable cheese with a milder flavor than yogurt. It is perfect for spreading on bread or crackers or as a dip for fruit or vegetables. Fromage blanc is very easy to make and is a great option for beginning
      cheesemakers.

      WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

      Ingredients:

      • 1 gallon whole cow milk or a combination of
        milk and cream (up to 50% cream)
      • 1 packet Fresh Cheese Culture
      • 2 drops liquid rennet

      Supplies:

      • A pot big enough to hold 1 gallon of milk
        (stainless steel or other non-reactive material)
      •  A large spoon or rubber spatula for stirring
      • Thermometer
      • Colander
      • Butter muslin 

      Instructions:

      1. Heat the milk to 86°F.
      2. Remove the milk from the heat and thoroughly mix in the packet of Fresh Cheese Culture. Use an up-and- down rather than a mixing motion. Don’t blend for longer than 30 seconds to avoid damaging the curd formation.
      3. Add rennet mixed with water. Using up and down strokes (don’t stir!), incorporate the rennet into the milk. Do not over-mix.
      4. Cover the pot and leave the mixture to culture for 12 hours at approximately 72°F.
      5. After 12 hours, the cheese should look like yogurt  (solid if tipped but still relatively soft). You may see some whey separating from the cheese. The whey is a mostly clear liquid. 
      6. Place a piece of butter muslin (doubled) or a tea towel in a colander in a bowl. Gently spoon the fromage blanc into the butter muslin. Gather the corners of the muslin up and tie knots to secure.
      7. Hang the butter muslin filled with the fromage blanc over a bowl so the whey can drain. An easy way to do this is to tie the butter muslin around a cupboard handle so a bowl to catch the whey can rest on the counter. 
      8. Allow the fromage blanc to drain for 6 to 12 hours to reach the desired consistency: 6 hours for a soft, spreadable cheese or dip; 12 hours for a cream cheese-style consistency.
      9. Flavor fromage blanc with herbs if desired. You can mix in fresh or dried herbs. Alternatively you can mold the fromage blanc and then roll it in the herbs.
      10. Will stay good in the refrigerator for up to a week. Can be frozen. Salt well and remove as much whey as possible prior to freezing for best results.

       

      How to Flavor Formage Blanc:

      • Basil and Tomato Cheese: Mold your cheese into the shape of a log, using your hands or a shaping mold. Slice into rounds and add fresh basil
        leaves and tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and serve with toasted sourdough bread.
      • Tarragon and Chive Cheese: Roughly chop a few sprigs of fresh tarragon and a handful of chives. Add to cheese and mix. Serve on top of chicken with roasted green beans and a glass of chilled white wine for a romantic summer dinner.
      • Cheese and Shellfish Dip: Add shrimp, crab, or chopped clams (drained, if canned) to cheese. Serve in a pretty bowl with crackers, cocktail sauce,
        and lemon wedges.
      • Spinach Dip: Mix cheese with chopped spinach, minced garlic, and
        a few tablespoons of sour cream or cultured buttermilk. Melt in a low oven or crockpot and serve with celery and carrot sticks. Or, use as a filling
        for stuffed mushrooms.
      • Easy Cheese Dessert: Place a wedge of soft cheese on a plate, and surround with fresh or frozen berries. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup
        for a fabulous, low-carb, protein-rich end to any meal.
      • Spicy Cheese: Add diced jalapenos, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, and
        some chopped cilantro. Use as a topping for tacos or a filling for enchiladas.
      • Horseradish Cheese: Add up to a tablespoon of grated horseradish root to soft cheese. Serve a scoop on top of steak or prime rib.

       

      Traditional Quark

      Quark (meaning “curd” in German) is a soft cultured cheese popular in Europe. It is the consistency of sour cream or yogurt. But quark can be used in a large
      number of ways. It can be substituted for cream cheese in cheesecake, mixed with dried fruits for a quick breakfast, or blended with herbs and salt for a tasty cracker spread. Quark is generally made with skim milk, but higher-fat
      milks can be used, and a bit of cream can be added to the final product to create a creamier cheese.

      WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

      Ingredients:

      • 2 quarts whole milk
      • 2 quarts skim or reduced-fat milk
      • 1/4 teaspoon mesophilic culture
      • 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup water
      • 1/4 teaspoon rennet diluted in 1/4 cup water
      • 2 teaspoons cheese salt

      Supplies:

      •  Pot with double boiler (stainless steel or other non-reactive material)
      • A large spoon or rubber spatula for stirring
      • Thermometer
      • Colander
      • Butter muslin

         

        Instructions:

        1. Slowly heat both milks together in a non-reactive cheese pot over low heat until the temperature reaches 72°F.
        2. Turn off the heat when the milk reaches temperature and add the cultures by sprinkling it onto the surface of the milk and allowing it to rehydrate there for 4 to 5 minutes. Then whisk them into the milk using an up-and-down motion for about 30 seconds.
        3. Cover and maintain the milk at 72°F for 30 minutes.
        4. Add the diluted calcium chloride and stir in an up-and-down motion for 1 minute. Repeat the same process with the diluted rennet.
        5. Cover the milk and let it set at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours, or until there is a clean break and a slight layer of yellow whey floating atop the curds.
        6. Return the curd to 72°F, and begin cutting it into 1/2-inch pieces. Once the curd is cut, remove it from the heat and gently stir the curds for 5 minutes.
        7.  Let the curds sink to the bottom of the pot, but maintain the temperature. Ladle off the top layer of whey until you can see the curds at the bottom. 
        8. Line a colander with butter muslin and begin ladling the curds into it. Let the curds drain for about 8 to 10 hours, or until the desired consistency is reached.
        9. Put the drained cheese into a bowl and mix in the salt, adding more or less to accommodate your own personal taste. Store your quark in a covered container in the refrigerator, and use within two weeks.

        Garlic and Feta Cheeseballs

        If your batch of feta cheese turns out softer than you wanted, try using the entire batch in place of the cream cheese and feta for this recipe.

        WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

        Ingredients:

        • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
        • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
        • 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
        • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
        • 1 teaspoon onion powder
        • 2 tablespoons softened butter, ghee, or bacon fat (adds a unique
          flavor)
        • 1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
        • 1/4 cup crumbled crispy bacon (optional)

        Instructions:

        1. Blend cheeses together in a large bowl. Stir in garlic and onion. Add enough of the butter to make a smooth mixture. If desired, mix in crumbled crispy bacon.
        2. Divide in half and shape each half into a ball.
        3. Roll each ball in about half of the chopped pecans.
        4. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until serving time. These also freeze well.

         

        Salami, Cream Cheese, and Pickle Roll-Ups

        This delicious appetizer is sure to be a favorite at your next dinner party, reunion, or holiday.

        WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

        Ingredients:

        • 24 slices of hard salami
        •  8 ounces cultured cream cheese, softened at room temperature
        • 4 large lacto-fermented dill pickles (or more if using small pickles)
        • 2 tablespoons softened butter, ghee, or bacon fat (adds a unique flavor)
        • 1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
        • 1/4 cup crumbled crispy bacon (optional)

         

        Instructions:

        1. Spread salami slices with cream cheese.
        2. Wrap your pickles in salami slices with cream cheese.
        3. Slice the pickles 1/2 inch thick.
        4. Lay them out on a platter and place a toothpick in
          each.

         

        Gluten-Free Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes

        These pancakes are higher in protein than most pancakes, with the addition of cottage cheese and eggs. They don’t need any topping other than a little fresh cultured butter, but a blueberry sauce will make an extra-special breakfast
        treat! Make these pancakes small and leave plenty of space between them on the griddle: they spread as they cook.

        WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

        Ingredients:

        • 11/2 cups cottage cheese
        • 4 eggs
        • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
          sprouted brown rice flour
        • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or
          tapioca powder (you can use 1
          cup of the sprouted brown rice flour
          and omit the arrowroot if desired)
        • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 3 tablespoons honey
        • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
        • 1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla extract
        • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
        • Butter, coconut oil, or similar fat for griddle

         

        Instructions:

        1. In a medium-size bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs, vanilla, melted butter, and honey.
        2. In a smaller bowl stir together flour, arrowroot, salt, and soda.
        3. Pour flour mixture into cottage cheese mixture and stir to combine. Fold in blueberries.
        4. Brush coconut oil over surface of griddle that has been heated to about 325°F.
        5. Drop spoonsful of batter on the griddle and cook until bubbles start to break on surface; turn and cook until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Be careful not to let the griddle get too hot or the pancakes will burn on
          the surface before they are done on the inside.

         

         

        Raw and Culture Pumpkin Cheesecake

        This is one of those dessert recipes that just adapts easily to using cultured foods. And because of the healthy fats in the recipe, the sweetener is kept to a minimum. This dessert is perfect for Thanksgiving or anytime throughout the fall or winter. With a hint of pumpkin and a dash of warming fall spices, this is sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving table.

        WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

        Ingredients:

        Crust:

        • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
        • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
        • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

        Filling:

        • 1 cup pumpkin purée (plain)
        • 4 tablespoons cultured butter, softened
        • 16 ounces cultured cream cheese
        • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
        • 11/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
        • 1/4 teaspoon salt
        • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (can use unprocessed sugar such
          as Sucanat)

         

        Instructions:

        1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper or grease a 9-inch pie pan.
        2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan and about 1/4 inch up the sides. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
        3. In a medium bowl, beat pumpkin purée, softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla, spices, and salt until smooth. Mix sugar in, 1/4 cup at a time, then beat until smooth.
        4. Transfer pumpkin mixture to prepared pan, spreading it out evenly over the crust. Cover and chill until set, about 6 hours, or overnight.
        5. Remove outer ring of pan and peel off parchment paper. Cut into slices and serve.