I am a cheese fiend. I absolutely cannot keep much cheese in the house. How about you?
In my spare time (uh huh) I make goat milk cheese. Chevre is my favorite, especially when garlic and my farm-grown fresh chives are included. I love seeing the muslin bags hanging in my kitchen for 8 hours! It feels old world, not to make little of the great a sense of accomplishment that cheese making adds.
I also enjoy feta goat milk cheese. Oh man, my diet is on the line when I make a batch of feta. I bottled it up once with dried rosemary infused in olive oil. I dipped into that jar enough frequently enough to give myself a belly ache!
One of the easiest and quickest ways to get fresh cheese into the house is to make mozzarella.
Here a quick recipe that includes some microwave usage:
1 gallon milk
1.5 to 2 tsp. citric acid
1/4 tsp. liquid rennet
1/2 C cool water (not chlorinated)
Kosher salt to taste (not iodized)
Dissolve the citric acid in 1/4 C water.
Dissolve the rennet in 1/4 C water.
Pour the milk into a stainless steel or enamel pan. Add the citric acid solution. Stir well. Slowly heat the milk to 90 degrees. You will notice the milk begin to curdle.
At 90 degrees, add your rennet solution. Stir gently, in a top to bottom motion for approximately 1 minute.
Remove the pot from the heat source.
Allow the milk to set for 5 minutes. This allows the curd to form.
Using a long knife, cut the curd in a checkered or cubed pattern, in an approximate 1″ pattern.
Scoop the curds into a microwave safe bowl.
Press the curd with your hands. The goal is to release and pour off as much liquid (whey) as possible.
Microwave the curd on high for 1 minute.
Note: Use caution, the cheese and bowl will get hot! I wear thick rubber gloves during the process.
Remove the bowl from the microwave and quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands. Drain off the whey again.
Microwave 2 more times, 35 seconds each. Repeat the kneading, handling and draining each time.
Knead quickly now, as you would bread dough. You will begin to see the cheese firm up and become shiny. Add salt at this time, to taste.
The cheese should now be pliable, and able to be stretched.
You can form the cheese into a ball and drop it into ice water to cool, or you can roll it out and wrap it in wax paper. I prefer the wax paper.
The cheese is ready to eat once cooled.
It will stay fresh for many days wrapped in plastic wrap (after the original cooling).
-cow milk can be used (I cannot personally attest to that statement)
-lipase powder can be added (to give a stronger Italian taste, I prefer without)
-do not use aluminum pans when making this cheese
-do not use iodized salt..that is unless you like green cheese.