Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I made cheese! - Urban farm challenge month 2

I somehow just slipped into this challenge Urban Farm challenge and this is my second month.  The first month was all about soil building, and this month is all about home dairy.  I already make my own yoghurt in my yogi thermos system, but I have always wanted to try to make cheese.

Ok so this weekend I did it!  I made cheese!  I read up so much about it and  then in the end just dived right in.  (It was raining and so I couldn't get out into the garden)  I pretty much followed the instructions from Eating rules but used citric acid in water instead of the lemon juice. I started with three liters of milk. I wanted to make paneer and it seemed that you make whole milk ricotta and paneer the same way.  After it was drained I reserved half for the paneer and the only extra step was to press the liquid out and then cut it into squares.
With the Paneer I  made  Pea and Paneer curry, and the one good thing I did for this curry was to make up a curry base and put half aside for another curry. Curry - many ways recipe  I like this idea as most of the time involved in cooking curry is all the chopping and sauteing, this way you only have to do it once for two curries. I have the other half in the freezer to see how it freezes and will update when I use it.
So back to the ricotta - I now realize just how much salt must go into cheese that you buy over the counter.  The ricotta was pretty bland until quite a large sprinkle of salt was added. It was good on crackers, but we try to shy away from things like cheese and crackers.   We had some broccoli that needed to be used up, so  I made pasta with broccoli.  I boiled it in some of the whey as the whey retains a lot of the water soluble nutrients.
Next month is gardening, anyone want to join me on this challenge?

17 comments:

  1. Oh, your Paneer curry looks yummy! Kudos to you on making your own cheese. I've been thinking of trying to make my own cheese too, but haven't taken the plunge yet. The Urban Farm Challenge looks like fun!

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    1. Oh yes Alison, you should try the challenge. Next month is gardening and I know you will be busy planting...

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  2. Yum! Your cheese and curry dish looks really good. I decided not to go into any of the other cheese recipes after the lemon cheese, since most of them required special ingredients that I don't keep on hand, or would use again. Plus I just discovered I'm sensitive to dairy products. Bummer right? :( I love the Urban Challenge though, and cant wait for next months challenge.

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    1. Oh no! It is amazing how many people are becoming sensitive to different foods. good that you have isolated what it is though.

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  3. I must try cheese making sometime too, but somehow the prices of both cheese and milk has hiked up here in Malaysia...How much cheese can you get out of 1 litre milk?

    Your paneer curry makes me hungry already...yummm...

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    1. I used three litres of milk and didn't weigh the cheese, but got enough for two meals, and buying the cheese would have cost about 8.00 and the milk cost 3.00, (on special) so it is a bit of a savings.

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  4. Yummy! Now that I have mastered yogurt making...cheese is next on my list. I have heard you can use junket tablets as rennet, so have been researching that . Your curry looks sooooooo yummy.

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    1. Kim,
      there is just so much information out there it is mind boggling. I am glad I tried with the simple version first. I would like to try feta, as that is a favourite cheese of mine. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Feta-Cheese shows a recipe using the junket tablets. let me know how it goes if you try it before I do.

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  5. I've been putting off making yogurt and cheese for a couple of years now for no good reason. You make it sound like a breeze.

    Do you make your own pasta? Ricotta in ravoli is one of my favourites. Of course palak paneer is also really yummy. So a batch of 1/2 ricotta and 1/2 paneer makes sense!

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    1. Laura,
      funny how these things simmer before someone spurs us on. I had a Hungarian friend who didn't write down recipes - you had to sit in her lovely kitchen and watch what she did. she made a loose pasta which you scraped little blobs off a wet chopping board. That doesn't sound great, but gosh it was yummy in her hungarian chicken! I love palak paneer but hubby doesn't like spinach. Silly man.

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    2. I bet that Hungarian pasta is the same as the German Spaetzle. I love it as well. Very heavy stuff but tasty. And pretty easy to make, you just have to be really fast to get the last bits in the boiling water before the first bits are overcooked - a skill I haven't mastered.

      I'm glad my hubby likes spinach because it is the one totally reliable plant I can grow in my garden. And it is so versatile!

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  6. Excellent job with the cheese~ and the paneer sounds fabulous too. I hope the prize worked out for you! xo, Annette

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    1. Haven't got it yet, I will let you know when I do! thanks

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  7. I don't see your link on the Urban Handbook page yet - you need to link to it so everyone can see what you've done. Go here http://www.sustainableeats.com/2012/03/29/home-dairy-link-up-show-us-your-stuff/ and put in this page. I've done mine which you inspired, now it's your turn!

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    1. thanks Laura - I have done it now. I posted this a bit too early and then forgot to link.

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  8. MMM, Paneer. One of our favorite things! I think I'll have to revisit this challenge!

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  9. I think I liked the paneer more than the ricotta. I would love to try and make it with spinach I think that would be very yummy. Palak paneer

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