Friday, May 30, 2014

Day Zero Project #91: Make cheese.

It's pretty much fact that cheese is the world's best food. The Internet says that making an infographic is the best way to display data in a way that people understand and find interesting, so I've compiled the following data, all true:

Cheese Infographic
And if cheese is the world's greatest food, what could possibly be better than homemade cheese? I'd guess nothing, but since I've never had any cheese that was homemade I was happy that someone put this on their list of Day Zero Project goals for me to steal.

Paramount to this project is that it be fast and easy. I didn't want to spend 4 years aging cheddar, so that left me with the soft cheeses (mozzarella, ricotta, etc.). When I had a whole bunch of buttermilk leftover after making crème fraîche this week, I googled "Buttermilk Cheese" and was directed to a recipe from the queen of jail recipes herself, Martha Stewart. And if you can't trust a felon's cheese recipe, whose can you trust? 

You can check that recipe out here, or read on for the recipe for Buttermilk Cheese. At this point, I've probably typed more words than you want to read, so I'll keep it picture heavy from here on out.

First you get your tools of the trade together.

Buttermilk Cheese Tools

Then you get all your ingredients together:

Buttermilk Cheese Ingredients
You mix all that in a pot, and boil for roughly 10 minutes. The recipe says 8, but that wasn't enough for me.

Buttermilk Cheese Cooking

Then, as Miss Muffet can tell you, that will seperate into two things:

You have your curds.

Buttermilk Cheese Curds
And your whey:

Buttermilk Cheese Whey
Whey is garbage. Or you can reuse it somehow, I'm just not sure. But I threw it away. So you take those curds that you've scooped into the cheesecloth and wring all the excess liquid out of it, let that cool and, TA-DA, you have buttermilk cheese.

Buttermilk Cheese
It's kinda plain, so I wouldn't eat it as-is. You could do anything you wanted here, I had a thought to do honey and crushed walnuts. You could go with an herb coating on the whole thing and serve with crackers. I ended up making a blueberry honey sauce to go with it.

Buttermilk Cheese plated
Or if you need a close-up to help you assemble your final product (or if you want them pre-made and ready to serve to your wowed party guests).

Buttermilk Cheese on Cracker
That's it. Very, very simple. If I had it to do over again I'd add a little flavoring to the mixture while it boils as the cheese is very plain in this form. But if you want to make it, here you go (Thanks again Martha Stewart)

Buttermilk Cheese 

Cheesecloth - cut into 3 12"x12" squares
1 quart whole milk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk - I used the lowfat kind and it worked really well.
2 tsp salt


Layer the 3 cheesecloth sections and put them on top of a strainer in your sink.

Mix the whole milk, buttermilk, salt and also throw in some sort of flavoring agent if you want to get crazy (vanilla, etc.).

Heat that over medium-high heat until the curds (cottage cheese looking things) seperate from the whey (milky liquid looking stuff). Recipe says 8 minutes, but it took a little longer for me.

Then you use a slotted spoon to take those curds out of the pot and into the cheesecloth.

Fold up that cheesecloth and squeeze to remove excess liquid and BAM! You can serve it right then and there. Or put it in the fridge for a little bit and it'll firm up more.

And if you want to make the Blueberry Honey Sauce, here you go. I just sort of winged it here, so feel free to change as I'm certainly no Martha Stewart.


Blueberry Honey Sauce

1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup honey
a few squirts of lemon juice (from a real lemon would be ideal, then you could zest it, too, but I had none).

Mix all those in a saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then let get to room temperate.

Spoon over whatever would be better with Blueberry Honey Sauce (and what wouldn't be?).

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