Monday, October 11, 2010

Fresh Cheese

My friend Donna has been making fresh cheese for ages. This go-round I asked to join in. Like so many things which previously seemed complicated, I was surprised at how simple the process is. Separate the curd from the whey, strain, compress or age, and you've got a perfect example of the subtle beauty of mild cheese.
Donna most often makes hers into paneer for Indian inspired dishes. After allowing the excess whey to drain overnight, she slices the disk and fries the pieces in coconut oil before adding them to masterfully spiced spinach for Palak paneer.
Here are simple instructions on making your own. All you need are a few simple kitchen supplies, fresh raw milk, lemon juice and sea salt.

Fresh Cheese:
*1 gallon fresh raw milk
*4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
*sea salt to taste

Line a colander with cheesecloth. Set aside. Pour the milk into a large soup pot and place over medium low heat. Bring to a simmer and immediately remove from heat.

Slowly add the lemon juice, and gently stir. Allow the curds to separate from the whey. This will take about 2 minutes.
Once fully separated, pour contents through cheesecloth. Add sea salt, or any additional flavorings to the curds, such as red pepper flakes, rosemary, cracked pepper or sage.

Twist cheesecloth around the curds (to resemble a package reminiscent of one delivered by a stork), and begin squeezing the curds to remove excess whey.
Flatten the curds within the cheesecloth forming a disk. Wrap disk with edges of the cloth and place on a dinner plate. Place a larger plate underneath, and tip plate with cheese to one side using a small dish cloth, so excess whey may drain onto the larger plate. Weight with an additional plate on top of the cheese to compress.

Place in fridge overnight and enjoy the following day how ever you may please. Excellent for nibbling, melted over sourdough, or used as a star in your favorite Indian dish.

*Whey may be reserved for future recipes, drinking, or if you have pigs, they will welcome it wholeheartedly as a decadent treat.


  1. Yum!!
    I love making cheese. We make a raw cheese with our goat's milk when the supply is plentiful.

    Our chickens LOVE the excess whey (so do the dogs.) They get the leftover whey after I use all I need for fermenting.