My monthly Garden Club meeting turned into a cheesemaking class.
Better yet, the cheese class was held at a house that is made out of straw.
The tour and information of how the 1000 square foot house was built and how everything in the house is recyclable and "green" was fasinating.
The frame of the house is a peg and beam frame from an old 1852 farmhouse that was being torn down.
Most interesting was that the home owners use a very simple composting toilet, that they use to fertilize their garden. Of course everyone at the meeting wanted to know all the poop on this. More about this later.
The cheese we learned to make is Queso Blanco ( Spanish for "white cheese.")
It is a tasty, incredibly useful soft cheese that is very very simple to make. You can use goat or cows milk, raw or pasturized. It still comes out great and yummy!
In a double boiler, over a direct source of heat warm 1 gallon of milk to 190-194 degrees F, stirring often to keep it from scorching. Stir in the 1/2 cup of vinegar, remove the milk from the heat source and allow it to stand undisturbed for 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes, stir the entire pot of cheese while it is still hot so the cheese proteins won't rebond and turn into a big ball of cheese.
Pour off the whey and save it to feed it to your hens and pigs or add it to your next bread recipe.
This is what the curds look like after most of the whey is drained off.
Some people then put this pot full of curds into cheesecloth to drain
(But we did not.)
At this point you can decide how wet you want the curds.
You can press the rest of the whey out with a wooden spoon and eat it as it is, like this.
Salt is standard and it preserves the cheese longer. Garlic and dill are nice too.
We ate a great deal of the loose curds in the bowl and then we put the rest of the curds into a strainer and patted it down to get even more whey out.
When the strainer was turned over, the cheese popped out perfectly molded into a nice shape.
Beautiful and very tasty.
Great in salads, lasagna, enchilladas, everything!!
( I put some on eggs tonight)
Takes a total of 15 minutes to make. Even I can do it and I am a legendary disaster in the kitchen.
All you really need is a special cheese or dairy thermometer.
Don't use aluminum containers to heat milk. Use stainless steel.
For more info and another simiar recipe:
As we ate cheese and other pot luck snacks that we had all brought, I picked up 2 books that were on the couch and started reading.
Both books have incredible infomation in them and I just could not put them down!!
My librarian is going to order them for our village libary and I am going to read them from cover to cover.
So many things to learn!!
Anyone using a composting toilet ? How is it working for you? Any suggestions or tips ?
What made you decide to make the switch ?