I had a nasty shock the last time I was grocery shopping. The price of cheese has practically skyrocketed. The chunk of cheese which just months ago cost me five dollars is now almost nine. I can't blame the usual suspects VAT or Customs or the supermarkets this time, world milk price have risen and is affecting all dairy costs. The problem now is how can I enjoy my cheese treats and dishes without breaking the bank.
The answer was simplemake my own. After all, cheese is made all over the world from the basic ingredient, milk. So, this is my experiment in cheese making.
My online research turned up countless methods for many different types of cheese. Cheese is made in one of two ways: rennet-curdling or acid-set. Rennet is an enzyme that will cause the milk to split into curds and whey; acid-set cheese use citric acid like lime or lemon juice or acetic acid (white vinegar). I opted for acid-set because, alas, I couldn't find rennet on the island. The rest was easy, sort of. I substituted cotton voile for cheese cloth (advantage I don't have to fold it into four layers).
This cheese is a very basic cheese that is made all over the world. It is called Farmer's cheese, curd cheese, paneer (India) and Queso Blanco (Mexico). It is a soft cheese that does not involve the long aging process of our more familiar cheddar. It is done in about 24 hours and can last two weeks in the refrigerator.
The Farmer's cheese is crumbly in texture and tasteless so it can be flavoured as you wish. It can be used in recipes as a substitute for ricotta or cottage cheese. It is used in blintzes, enchiladas, and even on pizzas.
I tried using half the amount of milk and salt, but left the full amount of vinegar to make sure I got as many curds as I could get.