Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inadvertant Cheese

Little Boy came outside to tell me that the milk tasted like cream and was thick. OK, I figured, he's 9, right? It's only milk, right? I'll make it into yogurt tonight, since I just bought fresh milk today.

Not happening. Milk in its way to being yogurt does not look like this. This should be a pot of bubbling frothy white stuff, not chunky white stuff with yellow in it!
The scientist in me was interested...I couldn't ruin it any further, so why not play? I tried to stir it.
Ick. Curdled milk.

Wait a minute...! ould Great Grandmother's mother have thrown this out? It smells sweet, not sour, and it curdled up all by itself, so...

Following in the steps of our Foremothers, right?

I boiled it, then ladled out the chunks.
Left behind was yellow, pus-colored liquid. I believe this would be the whey?
So what to do with it? Ricotta!!

I added 1 Tbs of citric acid, and got more curds!!
Poured that through a makeshift cheese-cloth of linen napkins...
Hung it up to drain...
And I'm still waiting for it.

I tried to follow some online instructions to make the curds into mozzerella cheese, but I cooked them too long and got hard curds (and burnt my fingers something fierce!), so I packed it into a bowl, and we'll have farmer's cheese instead.
In the end, there's about 1/2 cup of ricotta and 400mL of farmer's cheese. Not too bad for the last of the "sour" milk!

So the interesting thing I found, after getting the mess in the kitchen mostly cleared up, is that if you do a search for cheese recipes, they all seem to call for fresh, new milk without the slightest hint of being "off". Makes sense, right? But did our foremothers really throw away or feed the pigs with imperfect milk? Or did they have some good use for it? Is this a case of lost knowledge or of my refusal to accept anything as "spoiled"?

Turns out, if you go check the old cookbooks, all the cheese recipes I found call for starting with sour milk!

Learned something new/old today.


c'est Moi! the tink-n-frog said...

Don't you just love happy accidents that teach us something? I do.

Sara said...

Very cool! I made yogurt once in Microbiology class. Wasn't brave enough to eat it, though. Love the pictures. How does it taste?

stephanie said...

Erika- as I only have your work email, I figure you might see this before Monday. Here's the book I told you about:

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, by Reif Larsen, hardcover, 352 pages, Penguin Press, list price: $27.95

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen is a uniquely constructed novel whose story is enhanced by drawings, separate stories and musings in the margins. The titular hero is a 12-year-old boy who maps everything, including faces, the dinner table and the geology of his home state of Montana. After seeing his work, the Smithsonian, not realizing the boy's age, invites him to be a keynote speaker at an important gala. His journey across the country on a train (hiding in a Winnebago being shipped) is a great adventure filled with wit, humor and fundamental truths about life and family. And unlike many other books' footnotes, which beg to be ignored, the maps and stories that occupy the book's marginalia are an extra treat that need to be devoured as part of the main feast.


P.S. If I used sour milk to make cheese, I'll have to make sure not to tell Scott. Or at least wait until after he's decided that it's good to tell him =)

Monica aka Gloria Patre said...

Well done! with the cheese-making! It's been years since I've made cheese... brings back memories! (Don't forget to salt it!) Do I see decadent pasta in your future??