I'm such a wannabe farmer it's disgusting. In between my full time job and driving kids to ballet, piano, art classes, etc. in my SUV, I imagine the different combinations of jams I will can this summer, consider the eternal question - how can I make my garden bigger, and ponder the feasibility of raising chickens in my backyard. This is why when I stumbled upon the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge (book and blog) the other day, I scrambled to figure out what I would put together for the March Home Dairy Challenge.
Above - the whole milk is at a rolling boil. The lemon juice was added and the milk began to curdle. Below - it was all strained through a cheesecloth over a colander in a bowl. I did drink some of the whey, and it was not unpleasant. I actually drank a lot because every time I made someone try it, he/she said, "You drink it first". So I got more than my fair share of tastes. After the whey has been stained through, I folded the cheesecloth over, put a small plate on top, and weighed it down with my heavy cast iron risotto pot. The whole operation sat for about 2 hours, and then the cheese went into the fridge for an hour.
Here's what needs to be improved for next time:
- The cheese was not firm enough. When I added it to my tikka masala sauce, it basically fell apart. I think my paneer recipe was basically the lemon cheese recipe I saw on a link on the Sustainable Eats blog. Next time, I will try a different paneer recipe and use today's recipe to make a softer herbed cheese. I can tell that would be incredible - tart and creamy.
- I need to figure out how to make this lactose-free. One of the consequences of aging is that dairy is now my nemesis, and though I dare my body way too frequently by having dairy, my favorite magazine Experience Life keeps telling me that eating things my body does not tolerate increases inflammation, which leads to some sort of bad thing that has to do with insulin, which ultimately leads to weight gain.
- I need to make my own sauce because the jarred tikka masala sucked. OK, I do see the irony here - making my own cheese like an urban farmer just to buy a jarred sauce like an urban schmuck. Not too farmer like. However, I do have a good excuse this time. My sister has just gone into labor with her second child and I'm in a rush to post this, pack, and get down to North Carolina!!!