December 6, 2023

Curds 'n Cream

Late autumn is the time of year when milk production drops. Milk production is seasonal, for the most part, and by now, the does are hopefully bred and apparently less interested in making milk. Although some does will "milk through" for more than a year. I've never had such a doe, so I plan my cheesemaking during our peak of production.

I experimented a lot in the past, and have pretty much settled on what could be classified as Mediterranean cheeses for home production. For cheesemaking and cheese storage, this type of cheese works the best in my climate.

  • mozzarella - fresh or frozen (shredded)
  • feta - aged and stored in olive oil
  • halloumi - fresh or frozen
  • paneer - fresh but can be frozen and crumbled into soups, eggs, enchiladas, etc.
  • farmers - fresh
  • ricotta - fresh or frozen
While I make others on occasion, those are my staple cheeses. 

The other day, Dan mentioned an old favorite of his, pineapple and cottage cheese. Years ago, I tried my hand at cottage cheese. It turned out well enough, but somehow never got eaten and ended up being a treat for the chickens. Even so, this sounded like a good idea for the smaller amounts of milk I'm now getting. And then I got to wondering if I could make it with vinegar like paneer and ricotta, rather than rennet. I gave it a try.

I started with 1/2 gallon of milk, from which I hand skimmed the cream first. Then I heated it to almost simmering and added one 1/4-cup of vinegar.

The curds and whey begin to separate immediately. 

Then the whey is drained off and saved for baking.

Plop curds into a bowl, add salt to taste, and stir in the cream

The result is something like a dry, small curd cottage cheese. The creaminess can be adjusted with the amount of cream added. Since it doesn't follow the traditional cottage cheese recipe, I decided to call it "curds and cream." It turned out to be a real treat, especially with pineapple.

Serve as desired, here with pineapple and pineapple juice.

Like my fig sap cheese, this is a good one for smaller amounts of milk. It makes a tasty change in our diet, so it looks like this is now officially on my "keeper" list.

Curds 'n Cream © December 2023


Ed said...

Although not the palate of a chef, I always consider myself pretty imaginative when it comes to mentally figuring out taste before I actually try something for the first time. But occasionally something comes along and really stumps me. Most recently, it was when I had a sour cream and vanilla bean sauce for a plum tart. I couldn't imagine how that would taste, much less pair with a plum tarte but was really impressed when I got to try it. Likewise, I can't imagine eating cottage cheese and pineapple together.

I would go out today and get some cottage cheese to try it out but for some reason in my old age, I've gone completely lactose intolerant and I'm pretty sure, goat's milk cottage cheese is not available to me here. But I will keep this in mind if I'm every around some in the future.

Leigh said...

Ed, dare I suggest that you could make this recipe for yourself? If you can get a quart or half-gallon of goats milk, it's super easy. Not sure about the cream, although I don't add enough to make it as creamy as commercial cottage cheese.

Flavor perception is an interesting topic. I don't know if I can actually predict them beforehand, but I'm willing to give almost anything a taste. One combination for me that doesn't work is raspberry and chocolate. I absolutely love these flavors individually, but someone they become almost inedible together! Odd, isn't it?

Ed said...

I hadn't thought of that. I'll have to look if goat's milk is available in the grocery store. I know they have all kinds of different "milk" these days, many that aren't from lactating animals.

I'm not a big fan of fruit and chocolate of any kind but like them separately. But then I'm also a chocolate heathen according to my wife as I prefer milk chocolate over her dark chocolates which are the ones more often found with fruits and nuts in them. I'm always amazed at how differently just my wife and I taste things and yet enjoy eating the same meals for the most part.

Leigh said...

You're right about different kinds of "milk." I always liked almond milk. I have no idea if or how these could be made into cheese, although it's an interesting idea.

You and your wife sound like Dan and me! I prefer dark, he prefers milk chocolate. Yes, it's interesting how subjective flavors are.

Boud said...

I've often made paneer but hadn't thought of freezing it, though I freeze all kinds of foods. Thanks for the idea.

Leigh said...

Boud, it freezes like most other cheese, to defrost somewhat crumbly. But it's a quick and easy cheese to make and it adds a lot of variety to our meals.

Goatldi said...

Geoffrey's fave was cottage cheese and diced fresh tomatoes. I enjoyed it but not my fave. I loved feta and mozzarella. I too am getting less from Nutmeg. She kidded in '21 March with two bucks. I had high hopes of breeding little Trouble her daughter but she didn't take. I am still getting almost a quart of milk a day and I can do a lot with that.I still have some mozzarella frozen in the house freezer and it is a dream on pizza. I will try some cottage cheese with pineapple sounds yummy!

Leigh said...

Goatldi, fresh diced tomatoes with cottage cheese sounds like a winner. Especially with juicy ones!

That's disappointing about Trouble. Are you going to try again? A quart of milk a day is a nice little amount! It's perfect for small batches but adds up quickly in just a few days.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I have odd memories of pineapple and store-bought cottage cheese at my maternal Grandmother's growing up, and can only conjure up a vague sense of distaste. Perhaps time to revisit.

I tried making cottage cheese some years ago and failed miserably as I recall. Perhaps with a bit of slow time at work, it may be time to try my hand at this again.

Leigh said...

TB, I have found that as I grew up my perception of flavors has changed as well. My most memorable were liver and brussels sprouts. I hated both as a kid! But now, I really like them.

Theoretically, making cottage cheese is simple. But as it is with all living foods, it's not always so easy!

Quinn said...

Cottage cheese and pears is one of my favorites :)

Anonymous said...

Infeed to small batches

Leigh said...

Quinn, that combo sounds good too!

Anonymous, I agree!

Nancy In Boise said...

Sounds great!

Leigh said...

Nancy, :)