Adapted from/inspired by recipes from Ricki Carroll and Mother Earth News
- Stainless steel pot big enough to hold all the ingredients. You want one that has a lid that fits.
- Thermometer. It's awesome if it's the kind that can clip on to your pot. Mine does not, and I survive.
- Glass/pyrex measuring cup
- 10-inch kitchen knife
Make sure everything is clean when you start. I didn't sterilize, but if you have trouble with contamination, that'd be one thing to try.
- 1/2 gallon skim milk (thanks to Hilhof Dairy)
- 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk (the kind you buy in the store)
The milk I buy is pasteurized (but not ultrapasteurized). If you start with raw milk, everybody says it's best to pasteurize it so that you are starting with a bacterial culture that you pick (from the buttermilk). That's between you and your buttermilk.
Step 1: Setting the curd
- Bring milk to room temperature by heating or just by sitting out in a pan while you get distracted by other chores. You're aiming for about 75 degrees.
- I let the buttermilk sit out for a bit too, to bring it up to room temperature.
- Stir the buttermilk into the pot of skim milk. Cover, and place in a warm spot (70-75 degrees).
- Let it sit for 16 hours (at least), probably closer to 24. You want it to resemble custard.
Note: For weekday cheesery, I do this at 7 or 8 p.m., so that when I get home from work the next day, I can check it first thing. If it needs a few more hours, I am still ok to finish the cheese before bed. On weekends, or in my daydream farm life, I'd do it at 9 or 10 in the morning.
Tomorrow evening, I'll move on to step 2...
Step 2: Cutting the curd
Step 3: Cooking/heating to separate
Step 4: Draining and washing