Rosemary, Garlic, Walnut Kefir Cheese

This creamy, savory kefir cheese uses a few simple ingredients and makes a healthy spread for crackers, a dip for veggies, or a unique addition for sandwiches.  

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup kefir cheese (here’s the recipe)
1 tablespoon minced rosemary (fresh, not dried)
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely minced
5-6 whole walnuts, roughly chopped
Pinch Himalayan sea salt (to taste)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Seed crackers, or other hearty crackers
Microgreens or sprouts, for garnish (optional)

METHOD:

Place kefir cheese in a small bowl. Add minced rosemary and garlic and stir to combine. Stir in walnuts. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined. Taste. Adjust seasonings. Chill.

Spread on hearty seed crackers, and top with a sprinkle of sprouts. Also delicious as a spread on a sandwich or as a dip with veggies.

Kefir Cream Cheese

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????INGREDIENTS:
4 cups homemade kefir, cultured at least 24-48 hours to thicken

METHOD:
Place a large coffee filter (round pleated basket style) in a strainer and place the strainer in a large bowl. Gently pour kefir into the coffee strainer. The whey (the liquid that will seep through the filter) will drip into the bowl. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

The following morning, remove the cheese from the strainer and reserve the leftover whey that has dripped into the bowl. (Add whey to beverages, smoothies, soups, stir it into your finished kefir. Pets are also very fond of whey as a treat.)

To finish cheese, you can leave it plain and use like cream cheese. Or, add a pinch of salt, pepper, some minced garlic, minced fresh herbs of your choice and pepper. Shape into flattened ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. Serve with crackers.

YIELD: 1 cup

How to Make Goat Milk Feta

The following recipe is from Beginning Cheese Making preservation workshop, presented by Mountain Feed and Farm Supply at the Aptos Farmers Market.

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 gallons goat milk or cow milk
1 packet mesophilic DVI Culture – OR – 4 oz. mesophilic culture from a mother culture
1 teaspoon liquid rennet dissolved in 1/2 cup water (NOTE: I use 1/2 teaspoon double strength vegetable rennet – check the brand you are using to see if it’s regular or double strength)
Kosher salt
Brine: 1/2 cup salt (Kosher) per 1/2 gallon of water (boiled and cooled to below room temperature)

METHOD:

Sterilize all equipment before using.

In a double boiler or sink with warm water, bring your goat milk up to 86°F (or 88°F for cow milk). Stir in the culture, cover and let ripen for one hour at 86°F.

Keeping the milk at 86°F (or 88°F for cow milk), add the diluted rennet and stir briskly for 15 seconds, making sure the rennet is evenly distributed. Cover and let set for 30-40 minutes or until you get a “clean break.”

Cut the curd in to 1/2 inch pieces, let the curds rest for 10-15 minutes, then stir gently, cutting any large pieces down to size. This process will help the curd firm up and release more whey.

Gently ladle the curd into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Let drain for about two hours in the colander, then turn it and hang for 24 hours. Take down the cheese and cut into 2-3 inch blocks and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days, then put blocks into brine to age until ready to use. The cheese will continue to gain flavor for up to 6 months in the fridge.

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of Mountain Feed and Farm Supply. Cheese making supplies are available at Mountain Feed and Farm Supply.

How to Make Chèvre

Ricotta con valeriana su piatto bianco

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 gallon goat milk
1 DVI chèvre culture
Salt
Cheesecloth or butter muslin

METHOD:

Bring the milk up to 86°F and add direct set culture, stir well and set aside for 18-24 hours, keeping the temperature between 70-80°.

After this period, the curds should be separated from the whey into one large mass in the middle. Gently ladle the curd into cheesecloth-lined colander and let sit for one hour to drain off initial moisture.

After one hour, take the corners of your cheesecloth and hang the curd for 4-8 hours to drain (the longer the draining time, the drier/more crumbly the chevre. When you’ve achieved the consistency you like, remove from cheesecloth and mix in any additions you’d like (salt, herbs, dried fruit, etc.).

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of Mountain Feed and Farm Supply. Cheese making supplies are avilable from Mountain Feed and Farm Supply.

How to Make Mozzarella Cheese

tagliare mozzarella

 

MILK

  • Make sure the milk you use for this cheese is NOT ULTRA- PASTEURIZED.
  • Homogenized milk will work fine.
  • Fresh farm milk will also work well but we encourage you to make first batch of cheese with 1 gallon of store bought whole milk.
  • Low fat milk will work but the cheese will be drier and less flavorful.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 6 – 8 quart stainless steel pot – aluminum or cast iron will not work
  • Stainless steel or strong plastic slotted spoon
  • Two quart microwave safe mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Thermometer which will clearly read between 80 – 120°F.

PREPARE YOUR WORK AREA:

  • Do not prepare any other food while you are making cheese.
  • Put all food products away.
  • Move all sponges, cloths and dirty towels away from your work surface, wipe your sink and stove with soap and water.
  • Finally use antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all surfaces.

PROCESS:

  • Crush 1/4 tablet of rennet and dissolve in 1/4 cup of cool, unchlorinated water and set aside to use later.
  • Add 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid, diluted in 1 cup cool water, to 1 gallon of cold milk and stir well.
  • Add the citric acid solution to the empty cold pot.
  • Now, pour cold milk into your pot quite quickly to mix well with the citric acid. This will bring the milk to the proper acidity to stretch well later.
  • Next, heat this milk to 90°F. As you approach 90°F, you may notice your milk beginning to curdle slightly. due to acidity and temp. (NOTE: If having problems with milk forming a proper curd, you may need to increase this temperature to 95° or even 100°F next time.)
  • When milk reaches 90°F, remove the pot from the burner and slowly add your rennet (which you prepared in previous step) to the milk. Stir in a top to bottom motion for approximately 30 seconds or until you feel it thickening, then stop. It’s very important to NOT overstir.
  • Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Check the curd, it will look like custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey. If too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes.
  • Cut the curds into a 1″ checkerboard pattern (as in photos above) and, if a drier cheese is desired, carefully cut and stir this curd to release more whey.
  • Place the pot back on the stove and heat to 105°F, while slowly stirring the curds with your ladle. (If you will be stretching the curds in a hot water bath heat to 110°F in this step.)
  • Take off the burner and continue slowly stirring for 2-5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese.)
  • With a slotted spoon, scoop curds into a microwave safe bowl. (If the curd is too soft at this point let sit for another minute or so.)
  • You will now press this curd gently with your hand, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve this whey to use in cooking.

FOR MICROWAVE HEATING:

  • Next, microwave the curd on HIGH for 1 minute. You will notice more whey has run out of the curd. Drain off all whey as you did before. Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands until it is cool enough to touch (rubber gloves will help since the cheese is almost too hot to touch at this point.)
  • Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each, and repeat the kneading as in the last step. Drain off all of the whey as you go. Begin stretching and pulling the curd like taffy.

FOR STOVE TOP STRETCHING:

  • Once curd is removed from the whey, heat whey to 170°. Immerse the curd in the hot whey, either in a strainer, colander or a slotted spoon until it begins to melt.
  • Remove from the hot whey and begin to stretch and knead it. If it begins to break while you stretch, dunk back in the hot liquid. Stretch and pull the curd like taffy, aiming for a smooth, ribbon-like texture. The more stretching and pulling, the firmer your cheese will be. For a soft, tender, creamy cheese, don’t overwork the curd!

SALTING:

  • You can either sprinkle salt into the curd while you stretch it, or heavily salt the whey before you dunk the curd.
  • Form it into a ball and drop into ice water to cool and refrigerate. It is ready to eat when it cools.
  • When cold you can wrap in plastic wrap and it will last for several days, but is best when eaten fresh.

OPTIONS:

  • A substitution of reconstituted dry milk powder and cream is a great option if you can not find the right type of milk
  • Lipase may be added to the milk to provide a typical italian cheese flavor
  • If you want a softer texture, do not let the curd set as firm and work less when draining and kneading, this will make a moister cheese.

SOURCE: Ricki Carrol and Mountain Feed and Farm Supply. Cheese making supplies are available from Mountain Feed and Farm Supply.