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Cheese making

Aussie123

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There are lots of types of cheese, but here are two simple cheeses which I like to make from time to time : bocconcini and ricotta

The ricotta is a “by-product” of the bocconcini and uses up an otherwise wasted material, but it is optional and you don’t need to make any if you don’t want to. Similarly you could just make ricotta and skip the bocconcini.

What you’ll need for Bocconcini

- 4 l milk (I use supermarket low fat $1 per litre, but you can use whatever sort of milk you like)
- Juice from 2 lemons (or 7g citric acid dissolved in a small amount of water)
- Rennet (Check the instructions on the rennet and use the dose and method they suggest. I’ve had both a paste type and liquid type and sometimes the amounts vary. Vegetarian rennet is available if you like. FYI - I’m using a liquid vegetarian rennet below) You will need to go to a specialty shop to get rennet
- 5g salt (occasionally I’ve forgotten to add the salt and it seemed ok to me)

What you’ll need for Ricotta
- Whey from bocconcini making
- 0.25 cup of vinegar (cheap white vinegar – unflavoured)

Other things which you will need include:
- A thermometer – I have one which is for coffee (I think) and clips to the side of the pan. It measures from 0 to 100, which is the range we need
- Stirring spoon
- Colander
- A saucepan, large enough for 4l of milk
- Rubber gloves
- A jug (to catch the whey)
- A microwave safe bowl
- Cheese cloth, or a fine sieve (for the ricotta)

Bocconcini
There are three steps involved in making bocconcini : producing the curds and whey, separating the curds and whey, and forming the cheese

1 Producing the curds and whey

Put the milk in the saucepan and heat,
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When it reaches 13 C (ish), add the (strained) lemon juice (or citric acid)
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Keep stirring slowly.
Keep heating until the milk reaches 32 C, then add the rennet and stir it through. (I needed 2ml for 4 L)
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Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to sit. The rennet will start to work and set the curds.
For me this took about 15 mins, (but sometimes it can take up to an hour)
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You can see the curds and whey separating. The whey is the watery liquid separated from the curds.
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The Whey looks green-yellow-ish and the curds are lovely and soft and smooth, like a soft custard (taste them – yum).


2 Separating the curds and whey

Cut the curds into (approx) 25 cm squares
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Gently spoon the curds into the colander, put a bowl underneath because we want to collect all the whey for later use.
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Its amazing how much whey there is.
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Gently press the curds to release more whey

When you have drained the free running whey away, transfer the curds to the microwave bowl

Pour some of the whey into a tub and put it into the fridge (about 600ml in a 1 L container). We will use this later to cool and store the bocconcini.
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Microwave the "wet" curds for about 1 minute
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More whey will be released. Take the bowl out and gently press. Pour out the whey (and save it)
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I repeated this process about 3 times. Each time the bocconcini becomes drier and more whey is released. After the first microwave I was able to start to need the bocconcini, just like bread dough.
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After each cycle the bocconcini becomes drier and more firm and it will become HOT. You will probably need some rubber gloves. Don’t get it so hot that it melts !
Add the salt and kneed in:
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You know the heating and kneading is done when you can start to stretch the bocconcini like this : (Note the rubber glovews in use)
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3 Forming the cheese

So now your bocconcini is not and stretchy, form it into a ball.
Take that container of whey from earlier out of the fridge (if you’ve forgotten, just use the whey you have).
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Now its time to squeeze the little balls of bocconcini off the main lump and put them into the cool whey.
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When you’re done, you can store the bocconcini in the whey in the fridge for about a week.
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Ready to eat !



Ricotta

Ricotta is completely optional, but it does make use of the whey. For a small quantity like 4 L of milk, it is perhaps hardly worth the effort, but with a larger volume it certainly would be worth while. None the less I like to make it.

Take all the whey and add it back to a saucepan
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Keep stirring all the time so it doesn’t “catch”.
Slowly bring it to just below the boiling point (about 95 C)
Turn off the heat
Add the 0.25 cup of white vinegar and stir well.

Allow it to sit and cool down to 60 C
Line a colander with cheese cloth and pour the whey in
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Pick up the cheese cloth and allow the whey to drain naturally.
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I left it to drain for about 1 hour.
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After an hour, the ricotta is ready. I scraped it into a tub, ready for use.
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That’s it !

Summary
At the end of this process I have converted 4 L of milk into about 380g of bocconcini and 80g of ricotta, and I still have some “exhausted” whey.

The whey can still be useful. You can drink it, or use it like a stock and there are a variety of other uses too. It is highly recommended as a substitute for water, milk or stock and any recipe. For dinner I added some as a “stock” to go with spag bol, and this morning some was added to breakfast smoothies.

There are some cheeses which can be made without rennet, so called cottage cheese (aka farmhouse cheese). I say “so called” because technically it isn’t a cheese because cheese is made with rennet .....
Cottage cheeses are very nice too, and easy to make. They taste much, much better than anything you can buy, so give them a go.

The ricotta was quickly used up. Its so smooth and creamy I dolloped some on top of the spag bol ; but I think my favourite is to mix in a bit of honey and eat it as a dessert !

So why not start making your own Homestead cheese ?
 

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auscraft

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Brilliant
I have always wanted to make cheese but thought it was to hard or involved to bother.
Do you have a good cottage cheese (aka farmhouse cheese) recipe to try?
Also how long do cheese keep for?
 
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kiwibro

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You get more from milk that has not been pasteurized. My Nanna used to make cheese on the farm. I hated it back then. If only I could have some now.
 

Lifecraft

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Thanks for that. I've been planning to make cheese but haven't yet got to it.

Have you tried hard cheeses?
I like that they store well, but they involve some more work in pressing out the whey it seems.

I think I'll try something like that bocconcini first, and probably the ricotta as well to make the most of it. They look fairly straight forward to do.
 

Aussie123

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Brilliant
I have always wanted to make cheese but thought it was to hard or involved to bother.
Do you have a good cottage cheese (aka farmhouse cheese) recipe to try?
Also how long do cheese keep for?

Basic cheese is very easy, it really only takes 30 mins or so. Soft cheeses are best used within a week give or take a bit. Hard cheeses will keep for years !
Cottage Cheese is even easier than the above (Keeps probably 5 days to a week I guess)

Here’s the recipe I’ve used:
2 L milk (whatever sort you want, high fat, low, supermarket, etc)
1/3 Cup lemon juice

Heat the milk to 80 C (slowly)
Add about 2/3 of the lemon juice (stir)
Cover the pan and let it set and form curds in about 15 mins
If the whey is still milky, add the rest of the lemon juice (Cover and it again)

When the curds have formed, pour the curds into a colander lined with cheese cloth
Hang the cheese cloth for 1 – 2 hours to drain

When its drained, add some salt and you’re done !



You get more from milk that has not been pasteurized. My Nanna used to make cheese on the farm. I hated it back then. If only I could have some now.

I’ve not had access to fresh, unpasteurized milk, but it is said to be the best. Its a bit annoying since we have a relative who runs several dairy herds, but its just never worked out to get milk from him ! Doh !

Did you get your Nanna’s recipe ?


Thanks for that. I've been planning to make cheese but haven't yet got to it.

Have you tried hard cheeses?
I like that they store well, but they involve some more work in pressing out the whey it seems.

I think I'll try something like that bocconcini first, and probably the ricotta as well to make the most of it. They look fairly straight forward to do.

Soft cheese is simple, Cottage cheese, bocconcini and Ricotta are a good place to start.
I haven’t made hard cheeses, but I’d like to have a go too ... its just time and priority ...




.. if you're wondering what to do with all that bocconcini, here's a suggestion:
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BjornJ

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brilliant article,thanks for sharing!
I have tried only once, using 1 litre of milk and made a small "lump" of cheese that I fried half of and ate the other halve as-is.
Was fun to try but somehow never did it again.
From reading your article I guess what I made was cottage cheese.

thanks
Bjorn
 

Wentworth

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This is an amazing article Aussie! You've put a lot of effort into the step-by-step. Thanks for sharing. I think we'll try this
 

Blake

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This is unreal Aussie! Thank you so much I can see that alot of effort has gone into producing such a detailed tutorial. Ive never made cheese but always loved watching people make it when its on TV. I will be giving this a go for sure! $4 for that much quality cheese as well, cant complain about that. Looks delicious!
 

Black3

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Great tutorial mate,

The cheese looks fantastic I've been wanting to see it broken down into simple steps like you've done. I'm going to have go as well.


.
 

peter.

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Cottage Cheese is even easier than the above (Keeps probably 5 days to a week I guess)
Here’s the recipe I’ve used........

That's very similar to how I make Paneer, an Indian cheese that has a texture a lot like like Feta. Basically make the cheese as you've described then while it is still in the cheese cloth, put something heavy on it for an hour or so, to squeeze out the remaining whey and form it into a block. Oh, while it's being squeezed, I have it on a cutting board, raised at one end so the extra whey runs away from the cheese block.
 
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