DIY Black Pepper Basil Farmer's Cheese
By Erin Froehlich Serves 20
You don't need to be a great cook or spend a lot of money to make it. You don't need any fancy ingredients or equipment to do it either. Turns out, cheese is really fun and easy to make! ONE NOTE: Because this cheese is made without rennet, like feta or paneer, it's not really going to melt very well. I've made sandwiches with it and shredded it over pastas and salads, but no casserole or grilled cheese with this one I'm afraid.
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- 1 Gallon of Milk
- 1 Pint Buttermilk
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Tbsp Sea Salt
- 2 Tbsp Cracked Black Pepper
- 1½ cups Chopped Fresh Basil
You may also need:
A Pot, Bowl, Kitchen Knife, Plate, Sealable Bag, Spoon, Whisk
In a large stock pot (capable of holding a gallon of milk + some) pour in your gallon of milk and bring it to a boil. In the mean time, thoroughly whisk your eggs in a bowl and set them aside.
Pour in eggs a little at a time and keep stirring gently. Eggs in? Do the same thing with your buttermilk - a little at a time, stirring gently. Keep stirring gently until curds separate from the whey leaving your liquid looking slightly yellow and clearish.
Once separated ( shouldn't take long - maybe 5 minutes) use a thin dish towel draped over a pasta strainer to strain curds from whey. Don't be like me though, place a large bowl under the strainer to catch the precious whey for other uses. Not knowing any better, I mistakenly let my whey go down the drain. Turns out that whey could have been used to make ricotta cheese, enhance various recipes with it's enzymes and proteins, or simply to enrich my garden. I now know better! :/
Just curds in that cloth now? Good! You're ready for the herbs and spices. Toss them in and stir them up well.
Once they're stirred up, pick your towel up by the edges and squeeze any remaining whey from it.
Like I said in the intro, you don't need any fancy equipment like a cheese press. Simply wrap your curd mixture up tightly in the towel, place it back in the pasta strainer...
... and set some plates and bricks on top to add more pressure. If you don't happen to have a pile of spare bricks laying around, go ahead and get creative. Anything heavy that can balance on the plates will work just fine. Let it sit that way for at least a few hours before you either eat it or put it in the fridge. Longer it sits the more time flavors have to marinate.
Unwrap and voila! You're a cheese maker now!
Slice and enjoy. :)
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