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Which type of cheese should I (would you) make from raw milk?  RSS feed

 
Charles Kelm
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Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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I expect to continue getting a couple of gallons a month (or more) of inexpensive ($2/gallon) raw milk. I have been making lemon cheese (just heating the milk to 100 degrees, adding a cup or so of lemon juice per gallon and hanging the curds in cheese cloth for a few hours. It's good, but a little boring. I'd like to make something more interesting, but not too terribly difficult in the future. Have you had any success with things a little more exotic than lemon cheese? Also, what are some ideas for using up the whey? I made some lacto-fermented pickles yesterday with a half-tablespoon per pint. I've made bread with the whey in lieu of water. Any other ideas?
 
Erica Strauss
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Charles Kelm wrote:I expect to continue getting a couple of gallons a month (or more) of inexpensive ($2/gallon) raw milk. I have been making lemon cheese (just heating the milk to 100 degrees, adding a cup or so of lemon juice per gallon and hanging the curds in cheese cloth for a few hours. It's good, but a little boring. I'd like to make something more interesting, but not too terribly difficult in the future. Have you had any success with things a little more exotic than lemon cheese? Also, what are some ideas for using up the whey? I made some lacto-fermented pickles yesterday with a half-tablespoon per pint. I've made bread with the whey in lieu of water. Any other ideas?


Yeah, I'd say your next cheesemaking experiments should be pressed ricotta (ricotta salata), mozzarella and halloumi. You can make all of these without too many additional ingredients - you'll need rennet for the last two. The pressed ricotta is basically just a salted, firm version of your lemon cheese. You can press then brine that for something similar to feta. The mozz and halloumi and a bit more involved, but you shouldn't have a problem. There are quite a few good tutorials online.

For the whey, I do think that using it in bread dough, pizza dough and other savory baked goods instead of water is the whey to go (heh heh) for using up bunches of whey in a hurry. But you can also use the whey for soaking grains, beans and nuts. And while I've never done this, I've read about whey being used in soapmaking. Kinda like milk soap, but with just whey.

 
jared strand
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I have used raw milk to make mozzarella (it uses lemon juice to start the process, so no additional stuff) When done, if you add cream back into the mixture you can then make ricotta from it. We have made both in one day, and made a lasagna later that day.
My wife also used to make yoghurt just about every day, using a starter you can get at cheese supply houses (or often beer making shops sell cheese supplies as well) or you can use a yogurt you like that is natural based, and just mix some into your warmed milk.
 
Rebecca Norman
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The cheese you're talking about is paneer, not really cheese in the western culture sense.

Here at our school we have some cows, and when they're fresh and producing a lot but if most of the people are away for a few days, we make paneer and save it for several days till everyone comes back. We always used to make it by heating the milk to close to boiling and adding a little commercial white vinegar. The paneer doesn't take up the taste of the vinegar at all, it's all left in the whey, which we weren't really using. Then somebody had the bright idea, instead of vinegar, to add the sour whey from excess yogurt that is standing around whenever we have so much milk anyway. And that worked, and of course the whey was much better, if we'd wanted to use it for something.

And finally we found a method that I like much better. We add a bit of yogurt as a starter, but don't try to sterilise the milk by heating and cooling it first as we would do for real yogurt, and we don't try to keep it properly warm as for yogurt. But then we add the extra milk to that pot for a milking or two, and then when it's lightly sour, not as sour as yogurt, then we heat it till it separates. We strain that in cloth and weigh it down, just as we have always done for paneer. It has more flavor than plain old paneer, lightly yogurty. It also suits the person here who never liked paneer before, because he's lactose intolerant and loves yogurt and cheese but not unfermented things like milk or traditional paneer.

It's not like it lasts hugely long like real cheese, but it should last a while in the fridge, and take up less space than milk itself
 
Cristo Balete
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Charles, the whey can be used in lactofermentation of vegetables. It's essentially pickling them in jars without lids, but using whey as the "lacto" part. It adds antioxidants, enzymes and good things to the vegetables. The fermentation makes them a bit tangy to the tongue. Carrots, greens, cauliflower. It's very common in Japanese culture.

Strain the whey through a paper coffee filter, don't get any milk solids into the brine or you get a really stinky layer over the top. I've scooped this accidental layer off (not that I recommend it) and the vegetables under it were fine, but I suppose that's a bit risky.

It's not the same as canning, so they have to be refrigerated and used within a few weeks. But they are delicious raw and good for you.

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/basic-formula-fermenting-any-vegetable

Whey can also be used in soups and stews.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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My friend uses whey to make what she calls Whey-ade. Add lemon or lime juice to whey, depending on your preference, add a little sweetener, honey, sugar etc. It is quite delicious. I think there will be a difference in flavor between whey from cultured rennetted curds and the whey you get from heat and added acid coagulation process. Though I don't prefer them, I think the heat and added acid whey has more lactose in it. If you coagulated the cheese with lemon juice, then you're almost there!

I feed the whey to the cats dogs chickens. I know a man with a large goat dairy. He says they feed the whey back to the goats. He said you have to start them on it as kids, and just keep feeding it to them. I think he just puts the buckets out and they drink it like water. Somehow, this does not suit my sense of what's right, so I did not get any more details on it, but one thing seems like it would be important, would be to consider the rumen and not add large amounts of whey all of a sudden to a goat's diet, because all the sugar could give them bloat, just as large amounts of fresh green feed would, if they had been eating only dry hay for a long period of time.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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i get gallons and gallons of raw milk and have done a variety of home cheesemaking. After doing Mozzarella I will not do mozzarella again. other than ricotta, I will probably buy all "heated" cheeses because the time it takes to make them is usually not worth it for what you can buy them for. Raw cheddar/and or cheddar curds is a process to make but it is one that is more difficult for me to find and buy because of the "raw cheese must age 60 days" law. Food freedom can get here anytime now please... Nothing like squeaky fresh curds either, even better when they are from fresh raw milk with all of its beneficial properties.
 
r ranson
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I've been working my way through The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher

His cheeses are incredibly low in labour to produce.

I really like the Chevre recipe. If the milk is fresh out of the goat, it's already almost up to temp. Heat it for 2 or 4 minutes, add the culture and 1/4 dose of rennet. Wait 12 to 48 hours, strain the curds for 6 to 12 hours, salt the curds, put away in the fridge. Less than 10 minutes actual effort.

The aged chevre cheese is similar, only it has a few more steps and we wait longer in between the steps. Maybe 1/2 hour total labour, spread over several weeks.

All the cheeses in Asher's book are made with raw milk (but he includes instructions in the beginning for working with pasteurised milk). The chevre is especially good with raw milk, he says. I've noticed I get half again as much cheese with raw milk than I do with pasteurized when making chevre. But that's probably more the quality of the milk than the pasteurization.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Chevre, queso fresco, feta are great fresh cheeses, simple easy quick to make.

I use raw milk from my goats for all the cheese I make.

I have found the new england cheesemaking site recipes to be excellent. For the additional ingredients for culturing the curd and setting with rennet, either new england cheesemaking or cultures for health are great and reasonably priced. I use the whey (before salting or heating) from one batch to inoculate the next batch. (stored in clean container in frige).

If you have raw milk and you trust the cleanliness of the one who milks, and the health of the lactating animal, then there is plenty of bacteria in the milk to culture it. Just let it sit at room temperature. Cover it so that the milk will not be colonized by organisms in the air. I would still save the whey from a good tasting batch because it will allow the culturing process to go faster. A live culture buttermilk from the grocery store is another excellent source of "culture".

In my state the law about aging cheese made from raw milk a minimum number of days only applies if you are selling the cheese, so most of the cheese I make and eat, and my shareholders eat is "fresh" raw milk cheese. Many people believe that the raw cheese is healthier because of the probiotics in it. I guess there are plenty of people who prefer raw foods of all kinds for many reasons.

I don't separate the milk and cheese I will use from what the shareholders will end up with. So, I tell my shareholders that's their guarantee of food safety, hygiene and quality.
I have a bias for the cheeses made with out the "high" heat.

My friend points out that cheese doesn't just mean cultured rennetted curd products. When the milk protein gets separated from the watery whey by what ever method, it's just as much "cheese" as any other kind. Thus yogurt and kefir drained of their whey are cheese.

My absolute favorite if I could only have one cheese is queso fresco. Easy to make and wonderful texture, and it melts . Last fall I had too much, and before it could spoil (lots of moisture in it) I tossed a 3 pound ball of it into the (heavy) brine bucket and forgot about it for a couple of months. I got it out of the brine and let it sit in cave conditions. Now I am making salad with it and it's wonderful.



 
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