homemade spaetzle & cheese
The pantry is getting bare. Only a few cans left. An odd half package of rice noodles. The basic vinegars & oils that form the base of most of our meals. Containers of bulk goods. Our packaging is finally decreasing. It’s been a long process, but we’re getting there. This week, to cut down on the plastic containers coming home, I grabbed a gallon of milk. One plastic container. Multiple kinds of cheese. I did it. I finally mustered up the courage to make cheese.
The gallon of milk was about $5, and the cheese cloth was $2 (but it’s enough for two goes). So, for $6 we got a large container of fromage blanc–perfect for pizzas, spreads, pressed & crumbled feta style, or used as ricotta. Insanely versatile, and enough to mold the cheese into a couple different styles.
I wasn’t sure if I’d feel like I was saving money, but when I opened the cheese cloth & saw the amount of cheese I was happily surprised. Will I do it every week? Doubtful. But it’s definitely more affordable & sustainable (way less packaging–just the gallon jug–and far fewer food miles if you get locally sourced milk).
I basically followed this Earth Eats process, mixed with a few tips I found on online forums. (Her directions were a little vague.) I did not take pictures of the process; it is not pretty.
My final white cheese-making process
- Pour 1 gallon of fresh whole milk into a large stock pot*. Turn to medium-low heat.
- Heat until the milk is 185 degrees F. Don’t rush this process. Babysit the milk. Stir it frequently. Let the temperature rise gradually so you don’t scald it & you avoid a skin.
- Remove from heat. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar, gradually. The milk will immediately begin to separate. Give the milk a light stir.
- Walk away. Let the milk sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Drape your cheese cloth into a colander. Put the colander over a large bowl. With a slotted spoon, scoop out all the loose, wet cheese curds. There will be a lot of whey & a lot of curds. Just keep scooping.
- Let the curds drain in the colander for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Tie the cheese cloth into a tight knot, like a little sack holding all the cheese. Stick a spoon through the knot & suspend it over your large bowl, and place it in the fridge. Let the cheese rest over night.
- Wake up to magical, beautiful, fromage blanc.
*I used my enameled Le Creuset, because it heats evenly & is mostly nonstick. Everything I’ve read suggests stainless steal stock pots. I just think it’s best to avoid teflon.