This morning, I opened the mini-fridge that houses our milk (we store it in a separate fridge so we can keep the temperature colder without freezing all our produce) and discovered that there was no room for this morning’s milking. We’ve never had an overflow of milk before, but I knew it would come at some point and have been eagerly awaiting it. Extra milk means…homemade cheese!
I found a simple recipe online, and while making cheese might sound impressive, I can assure you that anyone who has a thermometer and is capable of making boxed mac and cheese can do it. I even made a somewhat large mistake and it still turned out fine.
It is as easy as heating the milk to 90 degrees, adding 1/2 teaspoon of rennet, letting it sit for 40 minutes, and then putting all the solids in a basket with some salt and letting them drain. See? The same number of steps as mac and cheese!
I’ve heard that mozzarella is similarly easy, the only major difference is that you “stretch” the curds out (a little bit like pulling taffy) before you let it sit to firm up.
The last order of business was the leftover whey. We didn’t want to waste anything from the milk; after all, it’s taken a lot of time and energy (for us and the goats!) to get it to the table. People have various ways of using the leftover whey – – some use it as a base for soups, others swear it makes fantastic jello when you use it in place of water. And many people toss it to their chickens as a treat. We decided to make Gjetost. Pronounced ye-toast. Or yay-toast. Or possibly jee-toast, depending on which website you happen to hit.
Pronunciations aside, basically you take the whey and let it simmer on low heat until it’s reduced all the way down to a slightly sweet, mildly nutty, rich soft cheese spread.
Steve had high hopes, as it allegedly is a complex and sophisticated mixture of caramel-y sweet and pungently cheesy. Well…ours was pretty much just salty. Remember that mistake I mentioned way back in the beginning? Yeah. The salt should have been added AFTER the curds came out of the whey, not while they were still mixed in. We ended up with all the salt in the whey instead of the cheese, so once it was reduced in the gjetost it was extremely concentrated. Steve said that he thinks he really likes it, but admitted that it would be better if it didn’t have so much salt.
I’ll be trying my hand at gjetost again without salted whey. Which means, of course, I’ll have to make more cheese to get more whey. I already have a list of recipes to try! Mozzarella, farmhouse cheddar, cream cheese, chevre…
So much for all that weight I lost on Whole30.