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Eggs & Cheese
Contributed by: Connie Stone
1 gallon pasteurized whole milk
11â�„2 tsp. citric acid dissolved in 1â�„4 cup cool water
1â�„4 tsp. lipase powder, dissolved in 1â�„4 cool water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes (optional, for a stronger flavor)
1â�„4 tsp. liquid rennet (or 1â�„4 rennet tablet) diluted in 1â�„4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
1 tsp. cheese salt (optional)
Heat milk to 55 degrees and stir. While stirring, add citric acid solution and the optional lipase.
Heat milk to 88 degrees over medium-low heat. Milk will start to curdle.
Gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion, while heating milk to between 100-105 degrees. Turn off heat. Curds should start pulling away from the sides of the pot (by 3 to 5 minutes).
The curds will look like thick yogurt and have a bit of shine to them, and the whey will be clear. If the whey is still milky white, wait a few more minutes.
Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2-quart microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently with hands, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey.
Microwave curds on high for 1 minute. (If not using a microwave, put on heavy rubber gloves. Heat the reserved whey to at least 175 degrees. Add 1â�„4 cup cheese salt. Shape the cure into one or more balls, put them in a ladle or strainer, and dip them into the hot whey for several seconds. Knead the curd with spoons between each dip and repeat this process several times until the cheese is smooth and pliable.)
Drain off all excess whey. Gently fold the cheese over and over (as in kneading bread). This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, which will not stretch until it is too hot to touch (145 degrees inside the curd).
Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each; add salt to taste after the second time (optional). After each heating, knead again to distribute the heat.
Knead quickly until it is smooth and elastic. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it is done. If the curds break, they are too cool and need to be reheated.
When the cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls and eat while warm. Or place them in a bowl of ice water for 1â�„2 hour to bring the temperature down rapidly; this will produce a consistent smooth texture throughout the cheese. Although best eaten fresh, it can be stored in the refrigerator.
Note: If the curds turn into the consistency of ricotta cheese and will not come together, change the brand of milk: It may have been heat-treated at the factory at too high a temperature.
Yield: 3â�„4 to 1 pound.
from â€œHome Cheese-Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheesesâ€� by Ricki Carroll
(This recipe was contributed as part of a "Cook of the Week" feature.)