“HOW TO Make Labneh Cheese?”

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Labneh, also known as Yogurt Cheese, is probably the simplest of all cheeses to make. To begin with you will need a quart of yogurt. You can use plain or flavored yogurt, and either homemade or buy from the grocery store.

However, if you buy yogurt for making labneh, make sure yogurt does not contain gelatin, as the gelatin will prevent the whey from draining.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart yogurt
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Special supplies:

  • cheesecloth
  • strainer
  • bowl

Begin by shaking or stirring the yogurt until it is thoroughly mixed and smooth. Mix in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt, to taste.

Next, place a strainer over a pot or bowl, and line with cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth.

Cover, and let the yogurt drain for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove the cloth from the strainer and scrape the cheese to form a mound in the center of the cloth. Then, using the cloth for handling, form it into a ball or log and place onto a plate.  Store in the refrigerator.

It does not get any easier than that!

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“HOW TO Make Baked Goat Cheese Spread?”

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Baked goat cheese naturally sweetened with fruits and honey makes a fantastically easy appetizer.

You can use baked goat cheese spread on toasts, crackers, bagels, and more for a delicious treat.

This warm, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth goat cheese is blended with two different fruits and honey to create a satisfying accompaniment to your selection of toasts or crackers for breakfast or a snack.

I am certain this is going to become one of your favorite appetizer recipes, though it does not necessary be reserved as an appetizer.

Spread this warm, creamy spread on a morning muffin or bagel for a warm breakfast. A great way to let you start the day, and keep you going!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup crushed, unsweetened pineapple
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 oz. chevre goat cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Spray a small casserole or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place cheese mixture in dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the sides begin to bubble and brown.

Serve warm with crackers or bread.

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” HOW TO Make Halloumi Cheese? “

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Halloumi cheese or Haloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese that is also popular in the rest of the Middle East and Greece, and is now made in many countries and regions around the world. Traditional artisan Halloumi cheese is made from unpasteurised goats milk, sheep milk or a combination of the two. Traditionally, the mint leaves were used as a preservative. The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to Mozzarella, and has a salty flavor. But, today, Halloumi is often garnished with mint to add to the taste. Many people also like Halloumi that has been aged; it is much drier, much stronger and much saltier.

With its ability to withstand high temperatures without melting, Halloumi cheese can add variety and interest to cooked dishes and salads. In fact, Halloumi slices can be grilled or fried on its own. The cheese is very easy to make. Its heat resistant property comes from the fact that the fresh curds are boiled in whey and then placed in a brine solution for storage. The brine solution also makes this a long-lasting, but naturally salty cheese, and the brine is often rinsed off before the cheese is cooked or eaten.

The Halloumi cheese is made with only two ingredients: goat milk and rennet. The lack of cultures causes this cheese to be rather bland, and mint leaves are used to impart flavor to it. Some modern recipes also call for the addition of a mesophilic starter culture to add more flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon whole goat milk
  • 1/8 tsp. rennet
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped mint (optional)

Special supply:

  • cheese cloth -lined colander

Warm the milk to 90°F. Add the rennet to the water, and stir into the milk. Continue to stir for 30-60 seconds to be sure the rennet is evenly distributed.

Let the milk rest until the surface has gelled, usually about 10-15 minutes. You can check for gelling by lightly touching the surface of the milk with the flat side of a small spoon. If the spoon leaves an indent, the milk has gelled.

Multiply the amount of time until surface gelling by 2, and wait that much longer before cutting the curd into 2″ pieces with a long knife.

For example, if it was 10 minutes before the surface gelled, wait 20 more minutes to cut the curd – cutting horizontally, vertically and diagonally across the depth of the curd.

Let the curd pieces rest for about 10 minutes, then cut them into smaller, 1/2″ pieces. Let the smaller pieces rest for 10 more minutes.

Now, stir the curds gently for 10-15 minutes to encourage the whey to separate.

Pour the curds into a cheese cloth-lined colander placed over a pot (you will be using this pot of whey later), and let drain for several hours until no whey is left standing with the curds.

* Optional – At this point, you can add about 1/2 tsp. chopped mint into the curds, or wait and place mint inside the folded pieces of cheese at the end of the process.

Fold the cheese cloth over the curds and press with your hands to remove more whey and to fuse the curds together. If the curds are still very loose and moist, place a weight on top (a gallon of water works fine), and continue to let drain.

When the curds are dry enough to stick together well, cut them into approximately 2″ wide strips. Bring the pot of drained whey almost to a boil (around 195°F), and drop in the cheese strips.

Let cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the strips float to the surface. Remove the strips from the whey, lightly salt each side, and let cool for 1-2 hours.

How to store Halloumi?

To store the Halloumi, you can make a brine solution of 1/2 cup salt dissolved in 1 quart water. It is traditional to fold the cheese slices in half, making a “U” shape (* Optional – with mint leaves inside the folded portion), before storing in the brine.

The brine will keep your Halloumi good for several months, and the flavor will increase with storage time.

You can grill or fry your Halloumi, or use it to top salads and stir-fries. The thick, chewy texture of this cheese makes it a great protein substitute for meat in main dishes.

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HOW TO Make Ricotta Using ONLY Whey?

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Each time when you make cheese, you end up with a lot of whey i.e., The nutritious liquid left over from curdled milk when the curds are removed. Whey contains the water-soluble proteins, vitamins, and minerals in the milk. And there are many things you can do with this leftover whey. You can use it in bread baking and soup stock, and even to cook pasta. You can even drink whey plain or sweetened. And in a pinch it can be used to ripen your cheese if you are out of culture (* You cannot use whey that has been used for Ricotta or  Paneer for this).

One of the really neat things about making cheese is that almost every time you make a hard cheese you can also make Ricotta. Ricotta is Italian, meaning  “to cook again”. It is a soft, smooth, fresh, unripened Italian cheese usually made from the whey of goat, cow or sheep milk.

Ricotta is made by using heat to precipitate – separate out the remaining albumin protein from the whey left over from making lactic acid/rennet precipitated cheeses. Usually recipes call for the use of an acid, such as vinegar in precipitating the curds. I have found, that in most cases, due to the fact that you ripen the milk as you make your hard cheese, the whey has enough acid on it’s own and does not need the extra vinegar. I also find that leaving the vinegar out creates a smoother cheese. If you use the vinegar, the cheese will tend to be slightly grainy. Ricotta is not a high yield cheese, but it is worth the effort. Many recipes call for the addition of some whole milk to increase the yield, but I find this effects the texture – makes it grainier and I do not recommend it. I prefer my Ricotta – smooth.

* Note: That you cannot make Ricotta from the whey left over from making an acid precipitated cheese such as Paneer/ Queso Blanco or whole milk Ricotta. Reason being, you have already precipitated out all the albumin protein the milk has to give using acid and heat and there is nothing left over in the remaining whey to make whey Ricotta.

You can use your homemade Ricotta in almost any recipe that calls for cottage cheese. It can be used instead of cream cheese to make cheesecake. You can also stir in some herbs and eat it on crackers.

Traditional Ricotta Recipe, using only left over Whey

Making Ricotta is very simple. Over direct heat, heat the hard cheese whey to 200°. By the time it has reached this temperature you will see very tiny white particles – the albumin protein,  floating in the whey. The heat and acid from the ripe whey has precipitated the protein. You can add a little vinegar at this point if you really think it necessary ( 1/4 Cup. per 2 gallons of whey), it is up to you as it would not affect the Ricotta.

Line a colander with very fine cheesecloth, called “butter muslin”. You must use a very fine cloth here, or your cheese will pass through the regular cloth. If you do not have fine cheesecloth, use a clean cotton cloth. Place the colander over a big pot so you can save the whey and carefully pour the whey into the colander. Be very careful because the liquid is hot. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together and hang the ricotta to drain for a couple hours.

When it has drained, place the ricotta in a bowl and add salt to taste. You will find that the Ricotta made from the whey of different cheeses has different tastes and textures. In my opinion, Feta makes the strongest taste as the taste increases as it ages in the fridge. Whereas, Mozzarella makes the best. Your Ricotta will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

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How To Make MOZZARELLA?


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Making Mozzarella is not that time consuming but it does take three stages which  can be completed in one day or could stretch over a three day period. If you start it one day, you should make sure to allow time to finish it the next day. If you forget to finish the cheese the next day, you can do it the next day after that but do not stretch any more days.

The following are detailed instructions on how to make Mozzarella Cheese.

However, I do not recommend that you try this as your first cheese attempt. Perhaps, start with something a little easier like Panir and work your way up to making this cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 1/2 gallons fresh goat milk (not homogenized) or raw, unpasteurized goat milk.
  • 4 oz. Thermophillic culture (Lactobacillus helveticus)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. citric acid per gallon of milk – (I use 4 tsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp. calf lipase (mild “piccante”)
  • 1/2 tsp. Liquid Rennet diluted in 1/2 Cup. cool water
  • 1/2 C. Kosher salt

Pour the milk into a double boiler pot set up and add the citric acid. Warm the milk to 91°. Add the culture and lipase.

Stir well and let ripen, covered, for one hour.

Keeping the milk at 90° – 91° . Add the rennet and stir briskly for 15 seconds.

Cover and let set about 15 minutes, until the curd has “Set” or until you get a “clean break”. It takes less time to set than other cheese due to the high acidity. You can check for a clean break by sticking your knife, or thermometer, into the curd at an angle. Pull straight up out of the curd; if the curd breaks cleanly around the knife and whey runs into the crack that is made; you have a “clean break.” Once you see this for the first time, you will know just what I mean  (*Note:  Sometimes Mozzarella will set but doesn’t “break” quite the same as other cheeses, due to it’s desire to hold together and stretch, but you can definitely tell it is “set”).

Cut the curds into 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces.

Cutting the curds can be the most confusing part, but just do not worry. Use a long knife held vertically and cut 1/4″- 1/2″ slices in the curds. Then turn the pot 90° and cut across in 1/4″- 1/2″ slices the other direction, making a kind of checkerboard pattern. Now hold the knife at a sideways 45° angle and retrace your cuts. Turn the pot 1/4 turn and retrace the cuts. Turn it again and cut and then one final turn and cut. By the last turn you probably would not be able to see the original cuts, but just do the best you can.

*Note:  Often times the Mozzarella curds can be a little trickier to cut than other cheeses. It will want to move around in the pot while you try to cut it. You may need to hold it steady with your ladle as you cut it. Just do your best; I know one will know if it is not cut “perfect”.

Do not stir yet.

Let the curds rest for 10 minutes. The curds are delicate right after you cut them and they need to “harden up” a little bit before you stir them.

After 10 minutes stir the curds gently with a slotted ladle.

Cut any large curds you missed when cutting the first time.

When dealing with Mozzarella, you will find it really wants to “knit” back together, especially if the ripening temperature got a little too high or you let the curds sit too long before stirring them. You may need to cut the curds apart with your knife and or ladle. Cut the curds by using the ladle and the side of the pot or by holding the curds on the ladle and cutting with the knife.

Keep the curds at 90° – 91°, covered, for an hour or so, stirring occasionally during the first half hour. I call this “cooking” the curds, even though you really are not cooking them per say.

“Cooking” at a higher temperature will result in a cheese with less moisture or drier cheese that is more rubbery and will yield less cheese per batch (*Note:  The higher the moisture of the cheese , it will yield more cheese out of the same amount of milk). You can experiment with this if you wish but just do not raise the temperature over 100° and raise the temperature slowly (not more than 2° every 5 minutes). Since this recipe works well for me so I do not experiment with it and just stick with holding the curds at 90° – 91°.

Stir once every 10 minutes of the first half hour of “cooking” for a total of three stirring sessions. After that, just let curd settle on the bottom of the pot where it will start to mat together.

Place a large colander lined with cheesecloth over a pot to catch the whey and pour the curds into the colander. If the cheese has become one lump, just reach in the pot and pull out the cheese and place it into the cheesecloth.

Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth and hang the curds to drain for 3 to 4 hours.

When the curd has drained for about 4 hours, remove it from the cheesecloth and “work” the curd OR, if you want to wait until the next day then place it in a gallon ziplock bag and place the bag in the fridge and “work” it the next day.

“Working”   the curd:

You can test the curd to see if it is ready to be worked. Cut off a small piece and put it in some hot water (170° ). Keep feeling it and see if it begins to melt. Once it starts to melt, take it out and see if you can stretch it. If it stretches with no problem, you can go to the next step. If it breaks when you try to pull it, you have not developed enough acidity and the curd needs to “age” in the fridge a bit longer, maybe even until the next day.

When the curd is ready to be “worked”, heat a large pot of water to 170° and add 1/2 cup Kosher salt. If you are working the curd the same day you made it then heat up the whey and use the hot whey instead of water; this makes the cheese even tastier and the curds “work” better as well.

Cut the curd ball in half. You are going to work only one half of the cheese at a time.

Cut the curd into approximately 1″ cubes.

Carefully dump the cubed curds into the hot water or whey.

Let the curd cubes heat for a moment and carefully stir with a slotted flat type ladle.

Squeeze the cubes with your fingertips to test. When the cubes feel soft throughout (not solid in the middle) they are ready for the next step.

Since the curds will continue to soften while you are moving them to the bowl, just let the largest ones still be a just little bit “solid” on the inside.

There is a line between not soft enough to “work” well, and too soft and runny, which you will learn with practice. The curds need to be soft enough, or they will not “work” and pull easily but too runny means failure. DO NOT let the curds heat too long, because if they get too hot and runny, there is no going back. Do not allow anything to distract your attention if you are working your curds.

Carefully remove them with the ladle to a large bowl. These curds are hot, so be careful. Take note that as you begin to work the curds, if you are rough with them, the cream will start to separate out

At first the curds may looks runny, do not worry, just keep going. Carefully take the curds in your hands and form them together into one mass. Gently fold one side over on the other to get it all to come together. Do not squeeze the curd or all the cream will come out and the finished cheese will be dry.

Work the curds gently at first, this will help it retain it’s cream. Keep a bowl of very cold water close by to stick your hands in when they get too hot from the curds. This cools them off and makes holding the hot curds easier.

Once you have got the curds come together so that you can pick it up, then just let the curd do the work for awhile:

Hold one side of the curd lump and let the other end begin to stretch under it’s own weight. When it stretches, fold up the bottom to the top and let it stretch again. As it begins to stretch you can start to help it along a little by pulling on it slightly. Keep stretching and folding. As you “work” the curds, they will stretch easier and easier. You will be able to pull the curds longer and longer. It becomes like pulling taffy (Except for the fact your hands are burning from the hot curd).

You will notice the nature of the curds changing. It will start to become shiny, smooth and elastic. When you get to this point,  you will know when you have about 10 to 15 good “pulls”

Place the cheese back in the water to warm them back for a moment.

Remove the cheese from the hot water and plop it into a mold.

Push the curd into the mold to even it up a bit. You do not have to get it perfect because the cheese is still very soft and it will even out as it rests and cools.

Repeat the “working of the curds” with the remaining curd.

Let the cheese cool at room temperature for a few  hours.

Place the cheese into the fridge overnight.

The next day, pop the cheese out of  the  mold and you are ready to make pizza.

Put the cheese in a ziplock bag and store it in the fridge. It is ready to use right away, but is much  better after a few days. Mozzarella  is one of  the  few cheeses that freezes  fairly well.


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