Long before there was Spongebob Squarepants or Adventure Time, there lived ‘the smartest boy you’ve ever seen’, in Dexter’s Laboratory! It was my favorite cartoon to watch when I was young. It was the perfect combination of science and humor. There was this one episode that I can vividly remember where I knew a new French word aside from the ordinary bonjour and au revoir which everyone knows. It was the episode where the science-geek Dexter can only say omelette du fromage, which translates to cheese omelet. The repetition of the word stuck to my head until now.
Omelette du fromage.
My love of cheese did not come at an early age contrary to what moms believe that cheese makes everything better when it comes to feeding a child. Well, to me at least. It only developed at a later stage when I learned how to appreciate cheese and the different tastes and textures it gives to food. There are a lot more to taste other than parmesan and cheddar.
I had a recipe that requires ricotta cheese and as what I normally would, decided to make my own. It did not seem hard to do, judging from the reads I was able to gather. Milk, lemon juice and vinegar. Scroll down for the recipe but I’m pretty sure that when you follow the directions, especially the temperature, you’ll have ricotta cheese that could last you more than those store-bought ones.
Whey is the yellowish liquid that you will be having lots of after straining the curds. I did not want to waste that much whey so I looked for things that I could do to make use of it. Apparently, there is a Norwegian cheese that is made from whey which they called Gjetost, pronounced as yay-toast. I followed the recipe on the internet and put the whey to use. I am so thrilled that I was able to make two types of cheeses from just one batch. Although judging from the photos I saw with what gjetost looked like which was firm and caramel in color, mine did not turn out that way. It was runny and yellow in color. I guess I needed to cook it a little more. It was also a bit salty, which I like because it was different. It had this umami taste to it. It was good.
Now, I have two cheeses to choose from when it comes to what to slather my morning toast with. And I will be making more cheeses from now on.
Omelette du fromage!
It is a really fulfilling feeling to be able to make your own cheese. Just like what I have felt about bread-baking, you’ll never know how easy it actually is if you haven’t tried it yourself. Go ahead and make these simple cheeses! With just a couple of ingredients, you’ll get twice the amount and kinds of cheese. I actually used UHT-processed milk and it still worked.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Recipe from Annie’s Eats
Makes about 2 cups
2½ tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon white vinegar, plus more as needed
2 quarts pasteurized whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the milk and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk registers 185˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.
While the milk is heating, prepare a colander and line with a double layer of cheesecloth.
Once the milk has reached the desired 185˚ F, remove from the heat.
Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar. The mixture will begin to curdle quickly. Stir just enough to evenly distribute the acids. Let rest 5-10 minutes.
When the mixture is adequately curdled, it will have separated into white curds and translucent yellow whey. Gently stir at the edge to ensure that this has occurred. If there is still milky whey in the in the pot after 10 minutes, add in more vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time and let sit 2-3 minutes more until the curds separate.
Very carefully pour the mixture into the prepared colander. If you want to reserve the whey, be sure to place a bowl underneath the colander. Let drain about 8-12 minutes (shorter for a moist result, longer for a drier end product. Moist is best for an appetizer-type spread, drier is better for lasagna and the like.) Transfer the curds to a bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Store up to 5 days.
Homemade Gjetost Cheese
Recipe from The Healthy Home Economist
Makes about 1 pint
1/2 gallon whey
1/2 cup cream
Pour the whey into a large pan and bring to a low boil. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours stirring frequently until the whey has been reduced to the texture of thick gravy and is about 1 pint in volume.
Stir in cream and continue to simmer stirring often until desired consistency is reached.
Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Blend with a stick blender to enhance creaminess and serve immediately as a pasta sauce or pour into containers to refrigerate for later use.
Gjetost will last for about 1 month in the refrigerator.