Today’s post was supposed to be on how to make the world’s easiest cheese.
Supposedly the easiest cheese to make is cottage cheese, but based on my results last Sunday, I believe otherwise.
You see, I was going to tell you about the downright awful stuff that is found in 3 out of 4 commercial brands of cottage cheese. And if you eat cottage cheese regularly, you should go ahead and be a little leery now, even if I don’t go into much detail.
Like, go to the kitchen and read that label right NOW. I didn’t make up that statistic – that was from my own two eyes at my own local grocery store. Carrageenan, sugar, synthetic nutrients… all the icky stuff that’s been in our artificial milks too. But wait – here’s the kicker:
Some cottage cheeses contain artificial color!
Isn’t cottage cheese white? Should we be concerned that it might have originally be a different color? Did you know that margarine is naturally grey, and that it’s dyed yellow to look like butter?
I was going to show you how SIMPLE it is to make cottage cheese and encourage you to venture out and try it for yourself…
Until I made it myself, and it was a complete and utter flop.
It tasted awful. It looked awful. There was nothing “awesome” about this glob of milk stuff sitting in my strainer.
Sadly, I documented the whole process so you can watch me make cottage cheese… and fail.
But instead of me telling you how to do it right, can you please tell me what I did wrong?
I followed the instructions. I even did some research and used a thermometer to currently heat the milk.
Did I let it sit to culture at room temperature too long? Why did it yield so little? Why is the whey so yellow?
I know many of you are new at real foods, but many of you have great experience in kitchen. Can you help me?
I’ll explain what happened through the pictures.
Step #1 – Allow skimmed raw milk (i.e. the cream has already been removed) to sit at room temperature for 1-2 days, until it becomes thick and has a texture similar to Jell-O.
Well, I watched and watched this milk to see if it ever looked like “jell-o,” but it didn’t. Then an hour later it looked like this. The curds had already begun to separate from the milk. I thought maybe, just maybe, this meant that I wouldn’t have to cook it as long… so I kept going. Had nothing to lose, right? What else am I going to do with curds?
(That’s a real question by the way, because I’m still VERY wet behind the ears on this cheese making, dealing with raw milk stuff. )
Step #2 – Heat milk for 5-10 minutes until the curds have separated from the whey.
Hmm… well, my curds are already kinda separate. Turns out it should be heated to 120 degrees (per my independent research). So I heated it anyway, stirring frequently so it wouldn’t burn (because that’s what usually happens when I cook milk. I once forgot that I was making yogurt and came back to the kitchen to find burned milk all over the place. Now THAT was fun to clean! 😉 ).
Should I have skipped the heating? Should I have not stirred at all? Stirred less? You can see in the picture below the whey in the pot… there’s no curds because as soon as I stirred, they all sank to the bottom. Is that normal?
Step #3: Pour curds and whey into a strainer and allow to sit for 1-3 hours.
I poured and there was NO need to let it sit because all the whey filtered out in like 2.5 seconds. I even poked at the “cheese” to see if there was any moisture left… there wasn’t.
Did I cook it too long? Was the temperature too high?
Step #4: Crumble the curds. Add whey or yogurt, plus salt if desired, to achieve taste and texture.
As you can see, the curds are already crumbled. Any poking just made them smaller… and what’s up with the yield? It measured to maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of a cup? Is that normal for 1 quart of raw milk? I thought I’d get more curds… and should the whey be so yellow?
Do you see how few curds there are? And how not-clear the whey is? I know whey isn’t COMPLETELY clear, but this seemed awfully thick… don’t you think?
Any words of wisdom are appreciated. I don’t have any more raw milk, as this quart is kaput and we’re drinking the other half (saving the cream for butter – at least THAT was a success!). I’d really like to be able to make our own cottage cheese, but at this rate, it would be a VERY snack…
One quart of raw milk for $7 (if I return the glass container, $10 if I don’t) to make 1/4 cup cottage cheese, when I can buy EXCELLENT quality cottage cheese for $2.50 per 8oz container.