Friday, 11 May 2012

Homemade Yogurt and Soft Cheese

As we were rained off today again, I thought I'd spend the day in the kitchen and make some yogurt and cheese.  Unfortunately my thermometer has gone AWOL and I just had to wing it.  Fingers crossed I haven't ruined 4lts of milk.

The yogurt is really easy to make, all you need is milk and a small tub of yogurt.

I was making 2lts so I sterilised four 1pt jars and their lids in a pot of water and boiled for 10mins with the pot lid on.

Heat the milk to 90°C and cool to 50°C.  Add a small tub of natural yogurt (it has to be the kind that has live cultures) and whisk it into the milk.

Pour the mixture into the sterilised jars and put the lids on.

The jars now have to be incubated, there are lots of ways to do this but I use a coolbox with a few inches of warm water, about 50°C, in the bottom.  Stand the jars in the water, put the lid on the coolbox and leave in a draught free place for 3hrs.

When the three hours are up, put the jars into the fridge for 24hrs, that's all there is too it.

The yogurt has now been in the fridge for  24hrs
To make a thicker, Greek style yogurt, put this yogurt into a cheesecloth or similar and let it hang in the fridge over a bowl for a few hours.
I can't take credit for this yogurt recipe, I got it from another blog  The Frugal Girl

The homemade cheese is a wee bit more involved but again, it's not difficult to do.  This recipe is for a basic soft cheese, I add salt, garlic and chives at the end but you can keep it plain or dress it up to suit yourself.

For this you will need 2lts of milk and a culture, in this recipe I am using a buttermilk culture.  I buy a 1lt carton of buttermilk from the Eastern European section of the supermarket and freeze it in ice cube trays, this works out much cheaper than buying the small carton usually found by the milk. 

You will also need Rennet, a digestive enzyme which sets the milk.  It comes in both animal and vegetarian varieties, I'm using the animal based one in this recipe.

Mix four drops of the Rennet into cooled, boiled water and set aside, I've used about half a ramekin of water.

Heat the milk to 20/22°C and add two cubes or about 2tbs of buttermilk and the pre-diluted Rennet and whisk.

 Put a lid on the pot and leave in a warm place, around 20°C for 24hrs.

So, here we are 24hrs later.  It's time to test that the milk has set.  Do this by putting your finger into it and lifting it up to see if it has a clean break, like this.
Now it's time to cut the curds by slicing it into 1cm squares with a knife.
Place a cheesecloth or similar into a large bowl and pour the curds onto it.
Tie the corners of the cloth together and hang it over the bowl for a further 24hrs to drain the whey from the curds.  I use a shoelace and tie it to the handle of one of my kitchen cabinets.

After 24hrs, tip the cheese into a bowl, i've added a grated clove of garlic, a teaspoon of salt and a couple of tablespoons of chopped chives, mix it together and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

It's now ready to eat and should keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge, although I'm not sure, it doesn't usually last that long in our house.

No comments: