Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Cottage Cheese: Take 1.5

on December 29, 2012

Alrighty. I have gotten my new batch of cheese making supplies, been back to my local supply house to get another book and some more culture, boiled all my utensils and read the instructions for making cottage cheese in the new book I got. The book is called Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses by Ricki Carroll.

I decided to boil my equipment for sterilization this time because it’s very possible there was some bleach residue left when I tried that method of sterilization. Apparently bleach is really good at killing rennet as well as the bad stuff! It’s interesting because my first book was like “OMG! Sterilize!!” This book doesn’t freak out quite so much lol. It’s like “Yeah, sterilization is important but don’t freak out, cheese has been made under all sorts of conditions for hundreds of years.” Definitely more laid back πŸ˜‰

So for today’s attempt I’m going to use the recipe in the new book, the new rennet and the new calcium chloride. And now that I think about it, I should probably explain what culture, rennet and calcium chloride do. πŸ™‚

Rennet is a coagulating agent. Basically, it causes the milk fat to come together and make curds. Without it, the culture makes a thick, tangy mixture similar to yogurt. Traditionally, rennet comes from the stomach lining of baby cows. It’s also available in vegetarian form. However, I’m not a vegetarian so I’m using calf rennet.

Culture is what adds the tangy flavor to cheese and yogurt. It comes in several different types but for today I’m using Mesophilic culture. This is a low temperature culture. It also comes in a couple of types. Direct-set means that the dried culture is sprinkled directly onto the warmed milk. A mother culture is when the dried culture is mixed with a quart of milk, boiled and left to thicken. It is then used in the recipe in place of the direct-set culture. I’m using direct set today but tomorrow I’ll make a mother culture and play with that. πŸ™‚

Calcium Chloride is a salt compound that’s used in all sort of things. In cheese making it’s used in combination with the rennet to help set the curd. Most store bought milk is homogenized, meaning that it’s had the fat from the cream broken up into tiny pieces. Because of that process it can be harder to get a firm curd. Calcium Chloride helps with that. I’m using it because I had to settle for store bought milk which is homogenized. I’m still looking for a source of non-homogenized milk.

One of the reasons I’m making cottage cheese is because it’s a fresh cheese. It doesn’t require a special mold or a cheese press. It also lets me work on learning how curd looks and feels. It’s a good place to start, plus I like cottage cheese. This isΒ  going to be a much drier cottage cheese than what people are used to from the store. The curds will be small, dry pieces of cheese unless I add some extra cream to it. I haven’t decided yet.

Now then, things should be ready to start working so I must head off to the kitchen. I will write more when I’m done and post some pictures this time.

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