Friday, May 17, 2013

Farmer's Cheese with Oksana Hill

Oksana Hill
It's always fun when a great cook like Oksana realizes she can make her own cheese.

Oksana Hill of West Sacramento, California has a fabulous website- This Life of Bliss at which she shares her simple, healthy recipes and useful tips about all kinds of things.*

Our office manager, Sarah, found Oksana's post about farmer's cheese, so e-mailed her and asked her how she got started making cheese:  (I admit I ask this question a lot, but don't you really want to know?!)  She responded:

When I was growing up in Ukraine, I watched my grandmother make farmer's cheese quite often. I had never actually tried to make it myself until a couple of years ago, when I started to use as many natural and organic ingredients as possible. Also, quite a few delicious Russian and Ukrainian recipes call for farmer's cheese, so I knew it would not go to waste! 

I called my Mom, got several recipes and started experimenting. Farmer's cheese is hard to find at a grocery store, and when you do, it's fairly expensive. I love the fact that I can make my own cheese for as much as I would pay for milk.

Another source that really inspired me to try making cheese was the book by Jennifer Reese called "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter". The author tried to make several kinds of cheese, and her success makes you want go in the kitchen and get cookin'! You mean to tell me that I can make my own mozzarella?! I am there!

And one more thing. I LOVE cheese! Cannot imagine living without cheese. If you owe me money, just pay me back in cheese. That's how much I love cheese.

We love cheese, too!  Here's Oksana's May 2nd post with 2 recipes for making farmer's cheese:

Homemade Farmer's Cheese: 2 Recipes

By Oksana Hill at This Life of Bliss

It is hard to find farmer's cheese at the store, and when you do, you will pay an arm and a leg for it. There are a couple of different ways to make farmer's cheese at home. Recipe number one is super-speedy. The cheese comes out very mild. Recipe number two takes a couple of days to complete, and the result is cheese that is slightly salty and has a bit of a "bite" to it.

What to make with this cheese? How about cheesecake? Or Syrniki (Russian Cheese Pancakes)?

Recipe 1: Easy-Peasy Farmer's Cheese

What you need:

1/2 gallon of milk

Pour milk in a pot and heat over slow heat until it is just about to boil.

Let cool and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar.

You will see milk start separating into curd and whey.

Spread cheesecloth over a fine-mesh sieve which has been placed in a pot. This is needed to drain the whey from the cheese.

Pour the whole thing into the cheese cloth.

Lift the cheese cloth and squeeze gently.

Loosely tie the cheesecloth and leave in the sieve overnight.  Make sure you place it in the refrigerator.

Save the whey to make bread. If you are not planning on making bread any time soon, you can freeze it.

Recipe 2: Wait for it... Farmer's Cheese

What you need:

1/2 gallon milk
1 quart buttermilk

Combine milk and buttermilk in a pot. Slowly heat but do not let it boil.

Leave covered for 24 hours at room temperature. You will see the whey separating from the curd.

Slowly heat again but do not let boil.

Leave covered for 24 hours at room temperature.

Slowly heat again but do not let boil. Let cool completely and pour into a cheesecloth over a sieve, which has been placed in a pot.

Lift the cheese cloth and squeeze gently.

Loosely tie the cheesecloth and leave in the sieve overnight. Make sure you place it in the refrigerator.

Your total time to make this cheese is two days.


*Useful Tip: What To Do With Leftover Tomato Paste

(By Oksana Hill- One of many great tips at This Life of Bliss)

Don't you hate it when the recipe calls for only one tablespoon of tomato paste? You have to open the can, use a fraction and find a way to keep the rest until you need it again. Well, there IS a way to keep it for as long as you need. Here is what to do with tomato paste you don't need at the moment: freeze it.

Grease a plate and drop spoonfuls of tomato paste on it. Place in the freezer for a few hours. After it freezes, place in a plastic bag and back in the freezer. Next time, when you need tomato paste, take out only as much as you need.


Intermax said...

I make various cheeses from my own goat milk. Recently I was trying for cottage cheese but got "romano"'s just as good. My daughter in law is Oksana Glymnshens from Nickolaev, Ukraine. She too is blonde and pretty and you two even look alike! She lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Thanks. Sonya or "Goatysony"

Kathleen said...

My mother was Ukrainian, born in Philadelphia to immigrant parents. She tried to recreate dishes she remembered her mother making at home, like holopschi. Recently I received a Ukrainian cookbook, and several recipes call for farmers cheese. One recipe said to grate it, so it must be a firmer type of cheese? Other recipes call for cheese, but don't specify what kind. I guess I will try making my own! Thanks for the recipes.