Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Cooked" Cream Cheese with Patrice Lewis

Patrice Lewis
Patrice Lewis, calls her popular blog- Rural Revolution - In-your-face stuff from an opinionated rural north Idaho housewife.

She describes herself as "a practical constitutional conservative stay-at-home homeschooling cow-milking rural-living Christian mom."  She describes her life as "homesteading, homeschooling and home business-ing" (she and her husband make handmade hardwood drinking tankards).

Patrice writes columns in various publications (including Countryside Magazine) and she has even written a series of self-sufficiency preparedness e-books.

On her website, she shares all kinds of information about all kinds of subjects, including cheese making.  So far, she has posted excellent tutorials about making cheddar cheese, mozzarella and cream cheese (shown here).

For the post below, she used the recipe for cream cheese that's on page 85 of our book, Home Cheese Making.  This is a somewhat unusual recipe because there is a step where you heat hot water and add it to the curds until they reach 125F.  This causes the curds to end up being firmer and the cheese dryer than with some of the other methods.  (So, if you're making cheesecake, it's a good recipe to follow.)

Making Cream Cheese
By Patrice Lewis at Rural Revolution

Here's my final posting on making cheese, in this case cream cheese. Of the three cheese I know how to make (mozzarella, cheddar, and cream) this is, by far, the easiest.

Start with two quarts of light cream and heat to 86F.

Add 4 ounces of mesophilic starter (I freeze mine in cubes) and stir until the cubes melt.

Cream cheese requires rennet, but in a very, very diluted form. Take three DROPS of rennet and add to 1/3 cup cool water.

Add one teaspoon of the diluted rennet and mix thoroughly.

I poured the cream into a bowl and covered it with a lid to keep out anything that might be floating around (wisps of dog hair, dust, whatever). Now it has to ripen for twelve hours at 72F, which can be a challenge.

I tucked the bowl of cream into our gas oven, which has a pilot light and therefore stays warm. But if the door was closed, it was too warm, so I taped a little note to the oven door asking that it stay open. This kept the cream at a consistent 72F. If your day is warm, you might be able to just keep the cream on the kitchen counter for that time. If it's a hot day, perhaps you can find a cool spot (basement? washroom?) to keep it.

I finished this step a little after 6:30 in the morning. Then I just went about my day until evening.

After twelve hours, I poured the contents into the largest bowl I have. Believe me, use your largest bowl. The next step is to take a separate pot of water and heat it to 170F. Heat at least two quarts of water, probably three to be on the safe side.

Once the water has reached 170F, start adding it to your bowl of cheese. You'll need to add enough hot water to raise the temp of the cheese to 125F. This is why you'll need the largestbowl you have. By the time I was done and the temp was correct, this white bowl was full to the brim. It looks like nothing more than a watery mess at this stage, but don't worry.

Line a colander in the sink with a clean old pillowcase (I like the "thinner" fabric pillowcases because they drain better).

Pour the whole watery slop from the bowl into the pillowcase. Have someone hold up the edges if need be. Honestly, you'll think you're pouring the whole bowl down the sink because it drains so quickly, but don't worry. What remains in the pillowcase are the cheese solids which will need to drip dry.

Next you'll have to hang the pillowcase to drain for about twelve hours (overnight in my case). This is how I hook the pillowcase around my cabinet center. Obviously you'll have to come up with whatever method works in your kitchen.

A full pillowcase, just hung to drip overnight:

The next morning: finished dripping.

Yield is 8 ounces, half a pound.

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