Last week on our journey down the south coast of NSW we called into the Bodalla Dairy Shed (in Bodalla). A town known for cheese making (although the original factory has since closed down). The Bodalla Dairy shed is a retro-style milkbar cafe that has an ajoining cheese shed where they make their own varieties of dairy products such as cheese, yoghurts etc.
Both Anthony and I love cheese- all types and enjoy sampling the many varieties available in different regions around OZ. Whilst we were at the Bodalla Dairy shed we picked up a brochure that had a simple recipe for a home-made soft cheese. The recipe almost seemed TOO easy!
We’d often talked about trying to make our own cheese, mainly just for the fun of it. We make our own beer and spirits back home, complete with a proper “still” etc. We are also hoping our olive tree back home has matured so we can start marinating our own olives. Learning, trying and enjoying these home made little tasks are almost something we call a hobby! its different and something we can do and learn together.
Anyhow- back to the cheese, the recipe is as follows:
- 4 cups of water (just the normal tap variety- lol)
- 2 cups of milk powder
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- Some salt to taste
- A saucepan
- A plastic bowl and strainer
- A square of cheese cloth or NEW chux type cloth
- Cooking Thermometer
- Thats it!
(the original recipe states 4 cups of milk) if preferred try using that instead of the powdered milk+water like we did. Please note the powdered milk does make the cheese a little sweeter so you may need more salt- its a matter of experimenting to find what you like.
Mix the water and milk powder into the saucepan and put onto the heat (or use 4 cups of ordinary milk). keep stirring ensuring it is mixed well and without lumps of milk powder. Add some salt (whatever your desired taste) and make sure it dissolved. Use a cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature of the milk. Once it reaches 80 degrees Celcius, remove from heat. Keep stirring and slowly add the vinegar.
You will notice almost instantly that the milk will begin to seperate. The liquid will go a yellow colour and white lumps will form. This is the Curds and the Whey (litlle miss muffet’s snack of choice).
It may not appear pleasing to the eye but its normal.
Allow to sit for a minute or 2. Then gently pour the mixture into the cloth-lined strainer suspended over a basin to catch the whey.
Stir the curds gently to encourage the liquid to drain. Gather the corners of the cloth and tease the curds to the bottom to form a ball. Gently squeeze excess liquid out. Allow to hang and drip for 10-15 minutes.
Its basically ready to use.
crumble it over a salad, use on pizzas or jacket potatoes.
Or chill and serve on crackers etc- a perfect little idea for those “happy hours”.
Its cheap, its easy, fun and best of all TASTY!
I will be experimenting with adding flavours like herbs, garlic, chilli etc in my next batch.
BUT dont throw the “whey” out- we used the leftover liquid in our bread mixture in our bread maker instead of water. This gave the bread an almost “sour-dough” flavour and the bread was airated and more “fluffy” due to the vinegar. Also worth trying!