**Download Volume 3, No. 13 of The Stanton Street Harvest**
If you have corn piling up from the recent CSA shares, the shareholder-adapted Brown Butter Cornbread with Farmer Cheese and Thyme receipe in the newsletter is well worth trying.
If you do not have farmer cheese available for purchase, it is very easy to make in just over an hour. (This is very much influenced by Indian paneer cheese; you can also make a much softer farmer cheese at room temperature with a much longer 24-hour curdling time.)
Homemade Farmer Cheese
Produces approximately 10 ounces cheese
Active preparation time 20 minutes, overall time 75 minutes
2 quarts whole milk
6 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, or the juice from about 4 large lemons, or other acidic curdling agent (citric acid, leftover sour whey from a prior cheese recipe)
1 cup hot water
Heat milk in a deep pot or saucepan on medium-high heat. You want several inches of distance between the milk and the top of the pot to prevent it from boiling over as it heats. Stir the milk semi-frequently to prevent it from scorching.
While the milk is heating, squeeze half of the fresh lemons or measure 3 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and mix with the hot water. Leave the remaining lemon juice on-hand in case you need it for additional curdling.
After about 8-12 minutes the milk should start boiling and will suddenly try to start boiling over the pot. Immediately take off heat. Add the lemon/water mixture or other curdling agent to the milk and stir several times. The milk should start becoming cloudy; large cheese curds should immediately start forming. If the milk looks very white and opaque without large curds, quickly mix some additional hot water with the remaining lemon juice, then add to the milk and stir again. The milk should clearly separate out into a yellowish whey which is only very slightly cloudy, with very distinct, white cheese curds.
Let milk/curd mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. While the milk is sitting, prepare a colander or large strainer by lining it with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth. The cheesecloth should extend over the sides of the strainer.
Pour milk/curd mixture into the cheescloth-lined strainer. (Note: you can collect and save the whey mixture and use that as the curdling agent for a new cheese recipe if the whey is to be used within about 7 days.)
In the cheesecloth, carefully rinse the curds under cold water to remove any traces of lemon. The curds should have the texture of thick scrambled eggs.
Pull up the sides of the cheesecloth and twist the top of the cloth to form a tight ball of cheese inside the cheesecloth. (Note: after twisting the top, using a twist tie on the top of the cloth to help steal it works well.) Lightly squeeze the cheese inside the cloth to expel some remaining water. Tie the top of the cheesecloth over the sink, such as attaching it to the top of the sink faucet, letting the cheese drip off excess moisture. Let the cheese hang and drain moisture for 45-60 minutes. When somewhat dry, open up the cheesecloth; the resulting crumbly, slightly moist farmer cheese should have a texture drier than ricotta, and much drier than cottage cheese.
Note: to make the Indian cheese, paneer, leave the curds in the cheesecloth and press under a heavy weight for 3 hours, then slice into cubes for use in a recipe.
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