Make Your Own Cheese

Yes, you can do it. Carol Lake gets up at 4 a.m. every morning to milk her Nubian goats. They are fed only the best organic barley, oats and molasses - as well as sun-dried kelp chips for a treat. They are encouraged to forage for preferred leaves and branches in her fields, to romp in the sun and buck at the pigs, and to come to her call and be part of the farm family on Dancing Dog Farm, just a mile outside of Peterborough."Cows eat grass. Goats eat the leaves and branches they find around our farm. The goat's milk tastes different in the spring, it depends on what they are eating. It could be chive flowers or new baby herbs. Their milk is clean-tasting and easier for the human body to absorb than cow's milk," Carol explains.

Whether you prefer to use goat's milk or cow's milk, making your own cheese at home is a breeze, according to Carol. "Paneer and Queso Blanco can be acidulated fast simply with either fresh lemon juice, orange juice or white vinegar. It turns into a faux ricotta and can be used in manicotti or in crab rangoons. This is one of the fastest cheeses you can make."Paneer and Queso Blanco use the acidulation method, which is simply adding acid to milk- - either lemon juice or vinegar - to produce curds that will then coagulate into a bundle of cheese when you hang it to drain.

Yogurt cheese, on the other hand, has a natural starter of bacteria culture in it so you can skip the acidulation step and simply drain it for a few hours in cheesecloth. As you get into advanced cheese making, a variety of cultures can be bought to produce various types of cheeses, both soft and hard.

Bottom line: To make your first simple, nutritious, low-fat, high protein cheese, you simply need some cheesecloth. Gravity does all the work for you."Yogurt cheese is a fresh cheese you can start at noon and it will be done by dinner. It is soft and light. Blend it with sea salt to taste, shower it with fresh herbs and serve it with toast. Or mix in garlic and chopped dill for a lovely Tzatziki dip or Boursin-type cheese spread."

Yogurt Cheese

This recipe is a great way to start learning about making cheese at home.8 ounces organic plain non-fat yogurt

Fine sea salt, finely minced dill, chives and/or garlic and any other herbs or edible flowers.

Sterilize thick unbleached cheesecloth in a couple inches of boiling water, then squeeze dry. Lay the cheesecloth in a colander over the sink and pour all of the yogurt in.

Tie up with a knot and hang from your faucet overnight (or at least 6 hours) to drain. You can also drain in the refrigerator overnight in the colander - the longer the creamier. Up to 24 hours.

Remove the yogurt cheese. Blend in your seasonings, taste and shower with more of the minced herbs.

Serve within a day or two. This is wonderful spread on toasted bread or crackers.Carol Lake's Cheese Making Classes and Fresh Goat's Milk Dancing Dog Farm 29 Old Sharon Rd. Peterborough (603) 289-2426


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