How’s it going out there? I hope no one has a case of the Mondays. My Monday is tomorrow. Yaaayyy. One thing that gets weird about working retail or in a non-typical 9-5 job is that days off tend to change from week to week, and are not always consecutive. Actually, if you do get two days off in a row, celebrate!
Anyway, today I decided to make cheese! No whey! That was a pun by the way. I decided to do this with milk that had just expired in my fridge, and I didn’t want to just pour it down the drain. I don’t like wasting things, and I always feel especially bad about spoiled milk. I always buy milk for a recipe and try to make an effort to use the rest of it somehow–and end up keeping it for far too long. I don’t put milk in my coffee…bleh. I like my coffee hot, strong, and straight up. No sugar either. Just pure brain juice.
The two by-products of cheesemaking are curds and whey. The curds are the milk solids that will be turned into cheese. This is where the lactose resides.
Whey protein is very healthy. It is considered a complete protein, as it contains all nine amino acids–don’t make me recite them all. Whey protein is used in exercise drinks and smoothies. Some people use it as an alternative to milk if they are lactose intolerant, and it can also be used as a dietary supplement.
A quick Google search for whey protein will bring up sites that sell huge jars of this dehydrated, synthesized powder for $30 or more (plus shipping and handling)! What?! Why buy it when you can make it at home for whey cheaper! (See what I did there? Puns are fun!) The organic whole milk I had bought was $3.99. A large jug of white vinegar is $2.99. It takes nothing to store the liquid form in your fridge. It will last for months!
So here is what you need:
1 Gallon Milk–any milk, but whole milk will give you more flavor
1/2 Cup White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, or Lemon Juice
1 T Salt
1 T Chopped Herbs of your choice–optional
Something Heavy to weigh the cheese down
- If you are going to be saving the whey protein, place a large bowl in the sink. Set a strainer or colander over the bowl, and drape the cheesecloth over the strainer.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the milk over medium heat. Stir the milk often to keep it from burning or scalding, until it starts to boil.
- Take the pot off of the heat. Add the vinegar or lemon juice. The curds and whey will separate almost immediately.
- Pour the curds and whey into the strainer with the cheesecloth.
- The curds will be hot, so be careful. Carefully, squeeze out most of the remaining liquid from the cheese. Add in your salt and chopped herbs and stir around using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.
- Gather the ends of the cheesecloth, twist them together, and knot them. Place your “something heavy” on top of the ball of cheese to weigh it down as it cools. Leave the cheese like this for about an hour to an hour and a half.
- Unwrap the cheese from the cheesecloth. The cheese will still have a crumbly texture, but it’s yummy! Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
So that is a basic cheese recipe. There are other more elaborate recipes and methods out there, but this is great for beginners, or for those looking to save money rather than throwing old food out. And as I said before, it’s so much more economical to make whey protein yourself rather than buying a pricey commercialized product.
Also, a shout out to Colleen, writer of the blog Lean Cuisine! I used her recipe Spanish Chicken and Potato Roast today, and it came out amazing! I added rosemary to the potatoes, but other than that, it was entirely hers. Great job! Here is the link to her post: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/48447071/posts/1506553659
Inspiration comes from everywhere! Enjoy, everyone! Until next time!