Homemade cheese

Homemade cheese: the simplest kind

A very small step for humankind but a huge step for me…I made cheese. Well, I’ve made it ages ago but realized that I have neglected to tell you how I’ve made it. It is the simplest kind that there is but still I may have taken it up a notch with my additional flavorings.

So here is what I did:
2 lt of unpasteurized fresh milk
2 lemons, juiced (yields about ¾ cups of lemon juice)

Boil the milk in a large pot and once it comes to a boil, continue for 10 more minutes while aerating the milk with a large ladle.  This will help distribute the heat evenly all over the milk. Turn off the heat and pour in the lemon juice and wait a few minutes. Then stir with a wooden spoon, until you see the curds separating from the light greenish liquid.

At this point, prepare a colander lined with cheesecloth and pour in the contents of the pot through the colander while catching all the curd in the cheesecloth. Pour in the whey you just acquired in large jars for a future use.***

Place the semi-warm curds in a large bowl and add ½ tsp salt and desired seasonings. For my first time I used isot (smoky Urfa peppers) and cumin seeds. Tightly wrap the seasoned curds in parchment paper. Then wrap in a mesh or plastic wine bottle sleeve (this is what I had on hand you can use any other breathable wrap).

Place in the fridge and wait for two days.

At the end of the two days, you will have a cheese that tastes like fresh cumin gouda with a little heat. You can age it a few more days and see the results for yourself. I’ve experimented with some other ingredients which yielded results I was happy with, but please feel free to try your own flavorings and be sure to share with me in the comments section.

So here are the other ingredients/combinations that I’ve tried:

  • Dried sour cherries (if you can’t find them try dried cranberries).
  • Finely crushed hazelnuts, chopped raisins and touch of allspice.
  • Chopped dried figs and dried oregano.
  • Chopped apricots and pinches of ground cardamom and coriander.
  • Coarsely crushed black pepper.

***Some people use it in baking, but I haven’t experienced with it so here are things I’ve tried that worked:

  • Use it instead of water in the traditional Turkish yoghurt soup.
  • Use it in tomato soup instead of milk or water & milk combination.
  • Boil potatoes and use it to make mashed potatoes.
  • Cook bulgur pilaf with it, it tastes divine.
  • Boil pasta in it but make sure to clean the pot right after draining the pasta, because if you wait to do it at the end of the meal, the little particles in the whey will stick to the bottom and dry up which makes the pot difficult to clean.