Friday, 18 November 2011

Lactic cheese.

This is possibly the easiest cheese recipe ever, you don't even need rennet to do it and it's delicious. It takes a couple of days but the effort involved is minimal.
First thing you need to do is to prepare your mesophilic starter. This is a compound of bacteria that ferment milk at room temp. You can do it by leaving milk at room temp for 24 hrs or by inoculating a little bit of milk with the content of a probiotic drink or a yogurt. It needs to be brought to room temperature well in advance (in the morning) to give a chance to the bacteria to start working. Lactobacillus acidophilus does a great job and you find it in most probiotic drinks and some yogurt but if you want to use professional stuff you can buy a proper starter like this one (it's enough to inoculate 150 liters of milk). If you go for yogurt or some probiotic drink, make sure there is no Bifidobacterium because in my short experience it does not allow the milk to curd. Streptococcus thermophilus and bulgaricus are ok as long as there is lactobacillus acidophilus. So, second thing you need to do is to bring a liter of pasturaised milk to 21°C in the evening and add a couple of spoons of the mesophilic starter you prepared in the morning. Leave everything at room temp and the bacteria will use the lactose in the milk producing lactic acid as a byproduct wich will lower the pH causing the milk to curd (usually between 8 and 12 hrs but could take up to 24). The amazing thing (to me) is that you get a very firm curd without rennet. So it will have probably curded by morning but if you dont have time to do anything, just leave it for when you come back.

On day 2 cut the curd along the two dimensions in cubes of 1 cm or 2. Then cut along the 3rd dimension orizzontally as in the pictures.


Let it rest for an hour.

 Drain it in a colander with a cheesecloth or just a cloth that can let the whey through. Preferably in a kitchen cleaner than mine!

 Hang it preferably in a cool room. The first time I did it I left it at room temp in the kitchen at 17°C and it came just fine. Let it drain for at least 24 hrs.It will be soft, spreadable and juicy.

 Eat it as it is or add herbs!

I have actually prepared 2 litres and got roughly 7-800 grams of it and I prepared some with sage and onion, some with thyme and some with rosemary and garlic. If you do too, it would be good practice to sterilise the herbs in a closed jar by boiling and to let cool, add then the cheese by mixing it with a sterile spoon. It will last longer. I also left half of it as it is, it's super yummy! It will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

PS. If you have dogs, they love whey, it is a good although poor source of protein and you should feed it to them.

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