Class #10 of the Can it Academy Food Preservation Cottage Arts Certification Program: Intro to Dairy
Dairy, ah dairy… I could never be vegan because I love dairy too much – especially cheese. So I was super happy to walk into class #10 of Food Forward’s Can It Academy series and see it was all about dairy products! Yum! Chef Miller got us going right way so we’d have to time to finish three fabulous treats to take home. (Get comfy, it’s a long post!)
First up, homemade yogurt. It’s thought that yogurt originated centuries ago by nomadic tribes. Milk carried in animal skin bags would coagulate by the animals movement and become acidic, helping preserve the milk from spoiling. Homemade yogurt isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, and is much healthier for you. There is so much sugar in store bought yogurt nowadays that most people probably don’t even know what real yogurt tastes like anymore.
You’ll only need milk, powdered milk to help firm up the yogurt and increase the protein level, and cultured yogurt. You can buy regular yogurt at the store as long as it’s a brand that has live cultures. A must for this process.
Make sure to add the powdered milk to the regular milk while it’s still cold, heat to 200 degrees stirring gently for 10 – 20 minutes depending on how thick you want it. Cool to 115 degrees and add the yogurt culture. Pour immediately into clean, warm containers and incubate for 4-7 hours at 110 degrees. We used a dehydrator but you could also put them in your oven.
Up next, cheese, glorious cheese! Cheese was thought to have originated with the nomads, like the yogurt – it was made accidentally by a traveler who put his supply of milk into a container made from an animal stomach. As he set out on a day’s journey across the desert, the rennet in the lining of the pouch, combined with the heat of the sun, caused the milk to separate into curd and whey. It’s thought that this first cheese was most likely goat cheese.
We made a Queso Fresco in class and although we couldn’t taste the one we made (ran out of time), Chef Miller brought one he made at home for us to sample. There is quite a bit to making cheese and Chef suggested the book Home Cheese Making as a good resource.
Start by warming up your milk to 90 degrees and adding your culture. Keep at temperature for 45 more minutes then add your rennet. This starts the coagulation process.
Let the milk sit for 40 minutes or so, until you see a firm curd forming. (You can tell by inserting a knife and seeing if it separates with a clean break.) Cut the curds into about 1/2 inch pieces and start increasing the temperature, raising it one degree every four minutes until you reach 95 degrees.
Start draining the curds from the whey, add salt, and let sit for another 20 minutes at 95 degrees.
The last step is pressing the curd in a mold. Whether a press like the one in the photo below, or something more homemade, you’ll want to have the proper weight pressing down on your cheese to release whatever whey is left in your curd.
And last but not least of our homemade dairy class, ice cream! This might be something you’ve already made at home but you’ll want to try this recipe. As Chef Miller loves history, he choose an ice cream recipe that would have been made in Victorian times, a French Custard with rose water. (Full recipe below.)
Seperate your egg yolks and combine with sugar, until the yolk color lightens. Add milk to eggs and whisk. Place on a double broiler, heating until 175 – 180 degrees. Stir often and don’t let this come to a boil!
Strain, add vanilla and rose water and let cool on an ice bath.
Place in your ice cream maker and freeze. It will fluff up so don’t fill more then 2/3 full.
Oh so delicious!
Take-aways from this class:
- One gallon of milk = one pound of cheese
- A batch of cheese will become 7/8 whey and just 1/8 curd
- Try butter muslin for your cheese cloth; Chef Miller says it’s better so it must be so!
- Chef Miller also suggested On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
Have you checked out the other classes in this series?