Monday, May 18, 2009

Lemon Cheese

This is going to be one of the easiest cheeses you'll ever make, guaranteed. Not much in the way of special equipment needed either.

I make my lemon cheese slightly differently than other recipes I've found as I like mine firmer. No, you don't need a cheese press!

And no rennet.

And no starter.

And if you don't have any cheesecloth you can use chux cloth (cleaned and sterilised, of course). And if that fails you can even use an old, small pillow case --REALLY cleaned and sterilised!

And you can use powdered milk! Actually I always use full cream milk powder cus that whey I don't have to pastuerise the milk first.

And you get a lot of cheese. 4 litres of milk (about a gallon) will yield almost a kilo (around 2 pounds) of cheese.

And there's no aging time!

Sounds good, eh?

Here we go:

Dingo Dave's Especially Easy Lemon Cheese

Here's what you need

1 gallon (about 4 litres) of pastuerised milk (just get a bag of full cream milk powder, mix up four litres of it and use it)
Juice of 4 lemons
2 tsp sea salt

extras you may want to try:
carraway seeds
dill weed
cumin seeds
chilli flakes
coriander (cilantro) leaves
lemon zest

I wouldn't suggest all in the same batch though...

Here's what you do:

Any utensil that will touch the cheese gets sterilised. I prefer the ole boiling water method. In a large, stainless steel pot put in your long-handled, stainless-steel skimmer, your cooking thermometer, your chux cloth, your cheese mat (a sushi mat works just as well) and your cheese hoop (I hoop this cheese even though no one else does as I like mine firmer) in the pot once the water that you should have put into the pot is boiling.

Do I need to tell you to be careful? No, of course not. I'm sure you can figure that out.

After two minutes everything is sterilised, no worries. Carefully pour the boiled water into a large pot. Why are you keeping the boiled water? You ARE going to make a batch of beer, aren't you?

Sorry, I just don't like to waste water or food.

Back to the Lemon Cheese...

Carefully lay out the utensils on a clean countertop.

Pour your milk into the stainless steel pot. Use the cooking thermometer to slowly bring it up to 100 F (or 38 C). If you are using goat's milk, then make it 145 F (62 C).

Turn the heat off, add your lemon juice, and stir slowly for 10 or 20 seconds with your stainless steel skimmer.

You'll notice little tiny white curds have already started to form. Neato! Let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes and you'll have a nice amount of little stringer type curds (not the kind you'd get from using rennet and starter).

Put a chux (or cheesecloth) lined colander over whatever saucepan you want to cook the whey (that's the greenish-tinged liquid that tastes ohhhhhhh so good) down to make mysost cheese.

Bring up all four corners of the cheesecloth that has the drained curds in it and tie em together --make it tight as the idea is you are not just draining the curd but helping to form them together. Then hang it up over the sink for an hour (tied to the kitchen faucet works fine --just don't use the faucet for an hour). This would be a good time to start the mysost, BTW.

After about an hour the curd should be well drained and clumped together into a semi-solid mass. This is where most people call it done and put it into a container in the fridge or to eat it straight away.

But what I do is carefully turn the curd out into a large mixing bowl, lightly sprinkle with sea salt and then with whatever herbs or spices I'll be putting into this particular batch. Carefully mix it together and then spoon the mixture into a cheesecloth lined cheese hoop that is sitting on top of a cheese mat. Fold the cloth over the top of the curd and the press it down slightly. Put a weight on the top (like a couple of big ole cans of peaches or a small weight from your dumbell set) and then forget about it till morning.

Don't worry, I'll be putting pictures up of all the goodies and procedures next time.

If you don't have a cheese hoop you can make one from a coffee can. Just take off the top and bottom, drill a few holes in the sides (smooth down the inside after drilling) and there you are. Also the top or bottem from the can should fit quite nicely over the top of the curd and give the cans a nice base to rest on.

The next day remove the weights and slide the cheese out. Carefully unwrap your glorious cylinder of homemade lemon cheese (seasoned exactly how YOU want it) and start eating. It'll keep for a week in the fridge, but I doubt it'll last that long cus it's very tasty.

I'll be putting pics up of all the utensils and some of the procedures next time, but I wanted to kinda get y'all excited about making your own cheeses first.


Rachel said...

I'm definitely going to try this. It sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing it.

What do you usually with this cheese? Eat it straight? On tomatoes? with crackers?

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Hi Rachel, how you been?

A cracker with this cheese spread on it topped with a slice of tomato would be great. Perhaps a slice of smoked salmon too...

I usually use it on crackers. Basically anything you can do with cream cheese you can do with this too. In fact, there's been times I've whipped the finished cheese and used it as cream cheese.

Rachel said...

I've been great, thanks! I don't seem to keep up on other blogs or my own very well anymore, though. :)

I'll let you know when I try this. I think I'll do it as a little summer experiment with my daughter in the next few weeks...she loves the kitchen. I can't wait to taste it!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Experimenting in the kitchen is always fun. Lately I've gotten in the habit of jotting down what I do as I cook so I don't forget just in case it turns out really good ;)