“Homemade Smoked Provolone Cheese”

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What is Provolone Cheese?

Pronounced: proh-voh-LOH-nee

If you can imagine mozzarella with a fuller flavor, then you have imagined Provolone. It is a semi-hard Italian cheese, aged for a minimum of six months, and originated in Casilli near Vesuvius  where it is still produced in various shapes as in 10 to 15 cm long pear, sausage, or cone shapes. A variant of Provolone is also produced in Japan and North America.

Smoked cheese makes a wonderful addition to sandwiches. Now, you can create this great taste with the step-by-step instructions for the best homemade smoked provolone cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 4 gallons of raw goats milk
  • 1 teaspoon of type K or KL lipase powder dissolved into 1/3 cup of cool, non-chlorine water
  • 4 teaspoons of citric acid powder dissolved in 3/4 cup of cool, non-chlorine water. Allow this to sit for 5 minutes or more.
  • 1 teaspoon of rennet mixed in 1/4 cup of cool, non-chlorine water

Instructions making the provolone cheese

  • Warm 2 gallons of the milk to 86 degrees F
  • Mix in the dissolved lipase powder.
  • Keeping temperature at 86 degrees F, let milk set for 1 hour to incubate.
  • Add the dissolved citric acid to the remaining 2 gallons of cold goats milk.Then, add the cold milk to the 2 gallons of warm milk and bring the temperature to 86 degrees F.
  • Add the dissolved rennet to the combined 4 gallons of milk.
  • Allow to sit for 15 minutes or more. Whey will cover the top of the curds.
  • Now you are ready to cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Allow curds to settle to the bottom of the pot, and then slowly raise the temperature to 115 degrees during a 30 minute time frame while stirring.
  • And now, using a large dipper or stainless pot with a handle, remove the whey from the curds that have settled to the bottom of the pot. Leave enough whey to cover the matted curds.
  • Prepare ice water in a pan long enough for the desired length of your provolone cheese log.
  • Meanwhile, heat the whey that is covering the provolone log that you have begun shaping. Use a cloth that you drained the curds into to turn the log of provolone in the heated whey. Remove the heated whey and the provolone cheese log from the heat. Continue to lift the cloth to aid in shaping the log of cheese.
  • When cheese becomes smooth and firm enough to handle, place the cheese into the ice water. Avoid handling the cheese log as much as possible.
  • Do not rush the cooling process! If you have a wooden mold 3″x3″ and 10″ long, place the cheese log into the mold. After the cheese log chills, remove and rub with iodine free salt and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator at 45 degrees and redress every two days for 8 or 10 days. If you are going to smoke the provolone cheese, do not uncover the cheese log.
  • After 10 days, wipe the cheese with cool water and pat dry.

Smoking the provolone cheese

  • Cold smoke your provolone cheese for approximately 4 hours. You can use small hickory chips, fresh from the woods or small sassafras twigs from sassafras trees.
  • Cold smoking cheese and meat is simple and inexpensive.
  • All you need is a clean metal bottomless garbage can and a soldering iron. Take an average size can of vegetables and partially cut the lid, leaving enough of the lid attached to close the can after filling it with wood chips. Be sure to remove the outside paper from the can, then wash and dry it.
  • Use tin snips to cut a round slot in part of the lid to allow you to put the soldering iron into the can filled with wood chips. Fill the can with small hickory chips or small sassafras twigs and place soldering iron into the can. Place garbage can on gravel and place the can with chips and soldering iron just under the metal bottomless garbage can. If you have a smoker, it will also work just fine.
  • And now, this is what makes it a cold smoker. Take a large box that will cover the top of your smoker and cut a hole in the bottom of the box, about a 6 inch diameter circle. Place the box on top of the smoker making sure that the box will receive all of the smoke. Place a rack a few inches above the bottom of the box and place this rack as far away from the 6 inch diameter hole as possible. This to allow the cheese to absorb the smoke and remain cool.
  • After about 15 minutes, unplug the soldering iron. Check the cheese, and if the cheese is dripping, then remove the cheese, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
  • Repeat the process until the cheese starts making a rind. The color of the cheese will have a slight yellow cast. Do not let the rind become too dried out and hard. Wax the cheese after it is smoked, so that other cheeses that are being aged do not become smoked. Age 6-8 months or more from date of being waxed.

Enjoy! The best Smoked Provolone Cheese.

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FETA Cheese Recipe

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Feta is a salty Greek cheese, usually made with either goat or sheep’s milk. Feta is neither soft nor hard cheese but in-between. It is wonderful crumbled on salads and crackers, and can also be used in cooking.Unlike most cheeses, it is ripened in brine. Feta develops quite a strong flavor and if you like “hardy” cheeses, you must give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 gallons goat milk – ( use a little over 3 gallons for raw, unpasteurized goat milk)
  • 4 oz. mesophilic culture
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Kid or Kid/Lamb Lipase powder
  • 1 tsp. Liquid rennet dissolved in 1/2 Cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • Brine: 1/2 Cup Kosher salt per 1/2 gallon of water (boiled and cooled to below room temp.)

In a double boiler pot set up, warm the goat milk to 86°. Add the culture and lipase. Lipase is the enzyme that gives Feta that great Feta flavor.

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

Keeping the milk at 86°, Add the rennet and stir briskly for 15 seconds. Cover and let set about 30-40 minutes, or until you get a “clean break”.

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.

Cut the curd into 1/2″ pieces.

Cutting the curds can be the most confusing part, but just don’t worry so much. Use a long knife held vertically and cut 1/2″ slices in the curds. Then turn the pot 90° and cut across in 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 won’t be able to see the original cuts, but just do the best you can. It is alright if think you did not cut the curd perfectly.

Do not stir yet. Let the curds rest for 10 minutes.

After this rest period, stir the curd gently and cut any pieces that you missed when you first cut the curd. Hold the curd at 86° for 45 minutes, carefully stirring occasionally to prevent the curd from sticking together. This process of “cooking” the curd helps the curd “toughen up” as well as release it’s whey.

Place a big colander over a big pot and line the colander with a large piece of dampened cheesecloth. If you dampen the cheesecloth, it will stick slightly to the colander, holding it in place.

Carefully pour the curd into the colander. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together and hang the bag to drain.

After 3-4 hours, take the cheese down and turn the cheese over in the cheesecloth, from top turned to bottom. This turning will “even up” the cheese into a nice form. Otherwise, it will have a rough form cheese; it is edible, just not so attractive.

Let your cheese hang and continue draining for about 24 hours, at this point it will start to develop a distinctive odor. Inform your family of the odor if you need to.

After your cheese has hung for about 24 hours or so, remove it from the cloth and cut it into usable size cubes (about 2-3 inches). Sprinkle all the sides of the cubes with kosher salt and place them in a sterilized, large, seal-able, container. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days to “harden up” the blocks. The blocks will continue to release whey during this time; that is normal.

Transfer the blocks (and their whey if you wish) to a large sterilized glass container. Add the brine. Do not add the brine too soon, the cheese sometimes starts softening up. The cheese is still good; you may just want to use it in cooking instead of for crumbling.

Age for at least I month before use in order to develop flavor. Your Feta cheese will keep in its brine (refrigerated) for a very, very long time ( up to a year), and will only keep getting better (stronger). On occasion, you may find some mold forming on top of the brine. When this happens, just skim it off, the cheese is still fine. If a piece of the cheese was sticking above the brine, it may mold. Just remove it, the rest of the cheese is still good.

Always remember that it takes a lot of milk to make a little cheese. And how much cheese you get will also depend on other factors, like type of milk used, fat content of milk, stage of lactation of the goat that produced the milk, handling of curds, temperatures during cheese making and hang time, just to name a few.

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Yogurt Lemon Squares Recipe

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Yogurt is high in calcium and protein and includes bacteria that are beneficial to digestion and goat milk yogurt is always cool and refreshing.

Similarly, goat milk yogurt desserts are a great way to “chill out” from the summer heat and this dessert recipe is doubly so! Cold and creamy, with just a hint of that unique goat milk tang, yogurt goes well in many cold and frozen treats.  Add the tangy taste of yogurt to the zip of lemon in a cold dessert, and you can feel your body temperature dropping as you Eat and Enjoy…………..

These Yogurt Lemon Squares are delicious, elegant, and amazingly simple to create.

Ingredients

  • 1 3 oz. box lemon gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup goat milk yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. goat milk

Add the boiling water to the gelatin, and stir until completely dissolved. In another bowl, mix the yogurt and milk together until smooth. Pour the yogurt mixture into the gelatin, stirring to combine thoroughly.

Lightly spray the bottom and sides of an 8″x8″ pan with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the pan, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours until completely set. Cut into squares, carefully remove with a spatula, and serve.

How to enjoy Yogurt Lemon Squares?

Yogurt lemon squares go well with graham crackers or other lightly-sweetened cookies, as well as fruit. Top with whipped topping, powdered sugar (just before serving otherwise, it will melt), or a lemon twist.

Instead of squares, you could also make “rounds” by using a muffin pan instead of a square pan. Or, if you have kids, use a gelatin mold to create a dessert that will really make them smile. You can also make yogurt lemon “ice cubes” by using an ice cube tray. And one thing I am certain is………summer will be a lot cooler with this dessert on the menu.

Buttermilk Dairy Milk Eggnog Flavored Milk Heavy Cream Light Cream Whipping Cream

Sour Cream Whipped Toppings Yogurt Packaged Cheese Feta Mozzarella Parmesan Provolone Ricotta Vegetarian Blue Cheese Cheddar Cheese Blends Almond Milk Soy Milk Milk Substitutes Butter & Margarine Cheese Assortments & Samplers

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