Remember the old nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” (she sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey)? Well when I was younger I didn’t even know what curds or whey were. Come to think of it, I always thought that “curdled” referred to milk that had somehow gone bad (kind of right). How messed up is that?
Lets start with the basics, shall we? To be honest the basics of cheese making are all I know, although I have more than a passing interest in trying my hand at some more complicated home-made cheeses, if I ever find the time…
To make cheese, you need milk. Milk is basically made up of water, protein, fat and lactose, and what we need to do is make the proteins stick together by adding an acid (forming curds), then sieve away the liquid (the whey). A little bit of extra draining through a muslin lined sieve and we’re done; a really basic cottage cheese.
A side point of interest; if you take the whey and heat it to near boiling before re-sieving it, you get even more curds, in this case known as ricotta, which means re-cooked. Ricotta, as you probably know, is a soft and slightly grainy cheese, great for use in deserts such as cheesecake.
Home-made Curd Cheese Recipe – Ingredients & Method
- 1.5 Litres (3.2 US Pints) full fat milk
- Juice of 1.5 lemons
- Salt & pepper
Start by heating the milk in a pan until its almost (but not) boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice slowly until the curds are visually separating from the milk. At this point pour it out into your muslin lined sieve (with a bowl underneath to catch the whey) and leave it for anywhere between a couple of hours (in which case give it a bit of a squeeze in the cloth to remove excess moisture) to overnight.
It’s great spread onto fresh bread and sprinkled with a little salt & pepper. Well worth a try!
Now, has anyone else out there tried making their own cheese, and if so what tips do you have for my next adventure?