easy cheese...

i've been hoping to try my hand at making cheese for awhile (especially after finishing animal vegetable miracle by barbara kingsolver, in which she talks about how straight forward cheesemaking actually is). i took the plunge today after reading this post over at smitten kitchen. talk about simple. i actually even had all of the ingredients on hand, though i would have preferred local cream instead of horizon brand, which is ultra-pasteurized. exposure to high temperatures during ultra pasteurization kills off millions of good bacteria and enzymes in trade for a longer shelf life. this is the reason you cannot make yogurt with ultra pasteurized milk, and i expect it generally works the same way for cheese.
we generally drink strauss organic milk, which can still be had in lovely glass bottles. the flavor is excellent and i love that it is not homogonized--it's traditional cream top milk. just look at all that yummy fat floating around, ready to be made into cheese!
three cups of milk, plus a cup of cream, heated slowly to 190 degrees, making sure not to let the milk at the bottom of the pot get scorched. after reaching temperature, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice into the pot. a quick stir, a 5 minute rest. then into a colander lined with cheescloth to drain and set up.

the end result was somewhere between ricotta and mascarpone. thick and creamy and surprisingly effortless. i see a lot of this cheese in my future, as a summer staple on pizzas and in salads. and of course, spread across anything else that crosses the table. yum!

side note: i was left with just about 3 cups of whey from making the cheese. i read online that whey can be used in place of water for making breads and the like, so i stirred up a big batch of pizza dough, using most all of the liquid. we'll see how it turns out!

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