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Don't Cry Over Overheated Milk! Farmers Cheese Anyone?


by Jerri

I was in a hurry. I thought, I've done this a million times, set the timer, and walked away from the stove to do another part of the yogurt project. My cow's milk was slowly warming over medium heat for a rebatch of Greek yogurt. It was only supposed to reach 160ºF, so 15 minutes in when steam was rising from the pot, I freaked. As the numbers on the thermometer rose beyond 160 and up into the 180s, I held back the tears, and remembered I had lemon juice. Lemon juice!

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I poured the overheated milk into a bowl, grabbed the lemon juice, and as I dumped it in while stirring I thought, How much lemon juice do I need? I really should check the recipe. But I didn't. I just poured and stirred until it made curds. It took about 5 seconds to be ready.

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I quickly found my butter muslin I had sewn into a bag for making nut milk, and put it into another bowl to begin the straining process.

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I gathered it up and strained. Hope no one needs inside that cupboard today

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This is known as an acid cheese since lemon juice was used (vinegar is another option) instead of an actual culture to do the fermenting. But in this hiccup, I was able to make a ricotta of sorts. I could have added a little salt to the curds before I strained it, as that leads to a harder cheese, but since I didn't check my recipe, this is what I got. By the way, when I finally checked the recipe, it said 1 quart milk + 1/8 cup vinegar, so I think I did ok in my panicked state. Whew! I peeled away the muslin and was happy!

I tried a bit of garlic salt on the side to dip it into, but unfortunately, it was just too crumbly (I strained too long).

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However, see below for what I did to entice the resident teenage boy to eathomemade garlicky mayo + crumbly cheese curds = a sandwich dressing that led to not one, but two sandwiches!

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Yum, yum, yum!

Now, back to yogurt making, but at a bit slower pace.