20 Minute Cheese
This recipe was adapted from Homemade Cheese by Janet Hurst.
½ gallon of whole cows milk (preferably non-homogenized)
¼ tsp mesophilic powdered culture/starter
¼ tsp powdered rennet dissolved in ¼ cup of water (or ¼ tsp liquid rennet)
Salt for flavoring (optional)
1 ½ – 2 gallon pot (stainless steal)
1 fine strainer or cheese basket
1 large colander
1 slotted spoon
Sink area with access to hot water
½-1 gallon pot to boil water in
- Clean all containers and utensils.
- Pour ½ gallon of milk into a large pot that is sitting in the sink. Fill the sink around the pot with hot water until it reaches at least the height of the milk in the pot. If this initial water does not heat the milk sufficiently, drain the sink and refill with more hot water. Heat the milk until it reaches 100°F, which you can check periodically with your thermometer.
- If you are using powdered rennet (like what is used in the video), dissolve ¼ tsp in ¼ cup of cool water and set aside. You will need this again in step 6.
- Boil 2 quarts of water in a pot on the stove. You will need this in step 7.
- When the milk that is in the pot in the sink has reached 100°F, you can now remove the pot of milk from the sink and drain the sink. Place the pot on your counter or heat safe surface. Add ¼ tsp of powdered mesophilic culture/starter. Let the powder sit on the surface for 2 minutes to rehydrate and then stir with your slotted spoon for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the dissolved rennet mixture to the milk and stir for 3-5 minutes or until you start to see small strands or clumps of curd forming.
- Slowly add ½ (1 quart) of your boiling water directly into the milk and continue stirring slowly. The curd will start to clump in much larger chunks and the liquid will start to become more transparent. (This liquid is whey.) If you need to, you can add the other quart of boiling water, but if your milk has turned into a large mass of curd surrounded by transparent/cloudy whey, then you do not need the extra water.
- Place your fine strainer or cheese basket over the large colander in the sink. As soon as it appears that no more curd will form, pour the curd into a fine strainer. Let it drain for 1 minute. Flip the cheese and set it back in the strainer for 5 more minutes. Your cheese is now ready! Cut and serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
Serving recommendation: We would recommend slicing the cheese into one inch squares, sprinkling with sea salt and eating with tomatoes and basil drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This cheese is great served with crackers or on a salad as well.