Wednesday, August 3, 2011

fresh from the press

On the way home from work yesterday, I stopped by my newest blueberry patch find. It appears that very few people know about its exsistence since it still had a bunch of ripe berries on. The other blueberry patch is huge (over 100 bushes)but everyone knows about it and it's hard to get anything near ripe. This newer one is only about10 bushes but definitely worth my time over the other one. The birds hang out there all day and get the pick of all the berries which means I don't get the big juicy ones but they are still yummy. There are plenty still left and I'll be visiting it intermittenly to get more. This time around, I am dehydrating them for winter use. I got about a pound.

But the real subject of this post is cheese...homemade cheese. I made my first batch Monday. I have to wait a couple of weeks to taste it and I'm really excited to see how it turns out.

One gallon of milk makes about one pound of hard cheese but you can use the whey and make ricotta cheese with that so it will yeild more cheese after I finish with that. I'll save the recipe for after I know it worked but here's a brief summary. I heated up the milk with buttermilk and let that sit overnight. In the morning, I added some rennet and heated again. I*t took about 1:30 to move onto the next step.

I cut the curds.

You have to heat it all up again and stir with your hand for 15 minutes. This sets the curds and it really starts to seperate from the whey.

You drain the whey from the curds. I saved it since I'll be making ricotta with it. You salt the curds and wrap it up in cheese cloth.

This is an old book press and isn't the ideal press for making cheese but I made it work just this once. It belongs to Barry and weighs about 40 lbs. This pic was taken before I actually turned the handle to press it. Once pressed, it was not open very much at all.

It sits in the press for about 12 hours. I unwrapped it, rubbed salt on it and wrapped it in clean cloth.

For the next week or two, I'll have to change the cloth as it gets wet, then it's ready to use. The flavor develops over that time...right now it tastes even more mild than string cheese, but it is definitely a hard cheese.


Valerie said...

Berries are so expensive so it's cool that you can find them for free. That cheese project looks like it's working out really well.

Anonymous said...

You sure are a "do-er"! That cheese is so neat. I grew up with berries like that in the woods behind our house! Even though a neighbor owned the woods, it was as if no one owned was nature for us (all the neighbors) to enjoy! love,andrea

Tiff :o) said...

Yes, Valerie, you can't beat free. It seems to be working...only time will tell.

Andrea, I don't know how to not do stuff...I don't like to sit still for long...there's so much I want to do that there's not time for sitting still. That's cool that you had a place like that growing up.

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