Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Homemade Cream Cheese-and other cheese related stuff

There isn't any skill required in making cream cheese at home-just patience, and a large, non-reactive pan. I have to admit a tiny bit of pride serving homemade bagels with homemade cream cheese. I've threatened to make my own graavlax, but that threat is largely idle (maybe).

I used the grocery store rennet tablets from Junket, and followed the recipe in the enclosed booklet. The results were excellent, the instructions clear, and the cream cheese- the best I've tasted.

I used full-fat milk and buttermilk, but it would still work with 2%.

I used a gallon of store-brand milk that was probably ultra-pastuerised and it still worked fine. Since then, I've been able to source some cream-top milk that isn't heated to death, or homogenised smooth which I'll use for some other cheese making. Price wise, it isn't that big of a difference, but I live somewhat local to where it is produced. The worst part was going to the health food store to buy it, and putting up with all the obnoxious people that shop there. Really people, get over yourselves.

I have the wood cut to build my cheese press (yep, a cheese press) and that will probably get assembled today. Hard cheeses are a bit trickier as you don't know if you have anything good until it has aged. I have two fridges, one of which is about to become my cheese cave, and I'm pretty excited at the thought of that. Those cheeses will require purchasing specific cultures, but you can make a basic hard cheddar-style cheese with supermarket rennet.

Finally, skyr. I'm cheating, and using purchased skyr as my starter, but with any luck, I'll be dining like a Viking by the end of the week. I love skyr. Sure, it is sour as all hell, and not really for everyone, but if you can get past the initial shock of, "oh my god that's so sour I'm going to die!" then odds are, you'll probably find it if not delicious, interesting. It gets called "yoghurt" but technically, it is cheese, as it has rennet. The texture is closer to sour cream-the sourest sour cream you can imagine-and then some. Danny really likes it with a blob of apricot jam. Anyway, if you see it in your market, try some-but be warned that first taste will be a shock if you were expecting yoghurt.

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