Food Fridays – Make a Basic Soft Cheese

Welcome to Food Fridays!  Every Friday check back here to read a food-related post – whether a recipe, a how-to (like today’s soft cheese!), or another food topic.

Today we’re making a basic soft cheese, and it’s super easy!  The best cheese to compare this to is ricotta.  Although true ricotta is made from the whey that is left after making mozzarella (thank you to the farmer that we get our milk from for that little tidbit!), this soft cheese has a very ricotta-like texture and consistency.

What you’ll need:

1 gallon of milk (I generally use whole, raw milk)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Pour your milk into a stainless steel pot.  You’ll need a candy/liquid thermometer.  Heat the milk to 185 degrees F over medium/medium-low heat, stirring frequently.  The key here is heating it slowly enough that you don’t scald the milk on the bottom of the pan.

Once the milk reaches 185 degrees, add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and stir briefly.  Leave this to sit for 10 minutes while the curds form.

Line a colander with cheesecloth and place over a container to receive the liquid.   (The liquid that is left is called the whey.  Don’t waste this precious liquid down the sink!).

Strain the milk through the cheesecloth, and allow time to drain.  This step may take awhile.  If after a couple hours there is still more moisture than you’d like, you can squeeze more of the liquid out through your cheesecloth.

Now you have cheese!  The first time I made it, I was shocked with the small amount of cheese that came out of a gallon of milk!  But you can use the leftover whey for lots of good things.  Plus, YOU just made cheese!  Congratulations!  Wasn’t that easy?

It will taste pretty bland at this point.  Add a little salt and a few herbs, and it’ll be delicious!  Mine is going into lasagna for dinner tonight, or maybe on top of a pizza with some sauce and mozzarella.  Yum!

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