Historians and archaeologists report that the first cheese was found in the pyramid of Cheops. The earlier appearance of cheese, about seven thousand years ago, belongs to the modern territory of the Middle East and indicates that cheese appeared by chance when an Arab, a merchant and traveler, took a leather vessel with milk on the road, which was slick under the rays of the scorching desert sun. The traveler had no choice but to eat what came out of the milk, since he did not have any other food. The new product came to his taste.
In fact, and most likely, the accidental discovery of cheese by accident refers to the times when humans first tamed mammals, and tried a new product, which they then improved for thousands of years, improving the technology of cheese making.
Today, cheese making is a significant part of export earnings in forty countries around the world. Cheese is produced in almost all countries of the world, and not only on an industrial basis. In some regions, homemade cheese on the table - a traditional meal. Recipes for homemade cheeses are different. It is made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, camels and buffaloes. According to the method of preparation, brine, soft, hard and processed (or processed) cheeses are distinguished.
How to cook cheese: check the quality of milk
Home-made cheese making is the prerogative of rural residents who have animals that produce milk suitable for making cheese. For residents of megalopolises, homemade cheese production is rather a hobby, a desire to try a natural homemade product, since it is possible to cook real homemade cheese only from natural whole non-skimmed milk, which, alas, in supermarkets is a rarity. The only way out is to buy milk from farmers in the market to enjoy a natural homemade product.
In our latitudes, cow or goat milk can be purchased from farmers. You can also make homemade cheese from the latter, but the choice of farm cow or goat milk must be approached with knowledge in order to get the cheese according to the chosen recipe and technology. Criteria that need to be considered when choosing milk for home-made cheese making:
As for the freshness of milk, the cheese can be prepared from yogurt. In any case, the difference between yogurt and milk is not reflected in the quality of brine and whey cheeses. The fact that when buying homemade milk you need to be careful not to take it where there is no sanitary control services, there is no need to say.
But, if you buy homemade milk from an unfamiliar seller, do not hesitate to try it. In particular, if the milk - goat. It can have an unpleasant odor associated with animal conditions and hormonal processes. The characteristic smell is not removed even after heat treatment and good cheese will not work.
It depends on the quality of the cheese, the choice of recipe. For example, for the preparation of Parmesan you should use in the same proportions milk of evening and morning milk of cow's milk, which has not the same fat content. More fatty milk - evening. Milk fat content also depends on the breed of animal, feed, season, and some other factors. “Philadelphia” type cheeses require the use of full fat milk, while for Ricotta type cheeses, on the contrary, the content of fat in whey should be low.
Milk fat can be determined visually, as can milk yield. When you come to the market in the morning, choose milk in three-liter glass bottles. In the bottle with the evening, already settled milk, cream lies on the surface, which can be easily determined by the difference in color. Thick cream has a cream color, and milk is whiter. In good homemade milk, fat content reaches 25-30%, that is, approximately 1/3 of a three-liter bottle should be filled with cream. In fresh milk of the morning milk yield, the fat content is much lower and if the milk does not settle (3-5 hours), then the amount of fat in it is not determined visually.
The fat content of some types of cheeses reaches 50% and higher. This composition is achieved by adding butter in the cooking process.
How to make homemade cheese - the main technological moments
Given the variety of cheeses, methods of their manufacture, as well as the trademark secrets of cheese-makers, we will focus only on the main and most common technological stages of cheese making, which are the same for all types of product. Pasteurization.
Milk for making cheese must be pasteurized. In particular, this stage should not be skipped in the preparation of cheeses with a long maturity. Immediately, we note: pasteurized milk purchased in the supermarket is not suitable for making cheese. Cheese from such milk will not work at all, because the pasteurization temperature of such milk is higher than 60-75 degrees - this is how milk is prepared for cheese. But some cheeses, however, are made from fresh, non-pasteurized milk (“Mozzarella”). In this regard, and if you wish to prepare such cheese at home, you need to more carefully choose the raw materials.
Adding leaven and forming a cheese bunch
Pasteurized milk is slightly cooled (up to 30-33 degrees) and rennet, lactic acid bacteria, vinegar, citric acid, or other oxidizing agents are introduced to facilitate the coagulation of milk protein and the separation of whey. The choice of additives depends on the specific recipe. Tableting forms casein. Coagulation of milk depends on the properties of milk protein, its ability to turn into casein.
For example, goat milk, despite its high biochemical indices, approaching in composition to human milk, has insufficient coagulability for making cheeses. In this regard, often feta cheese, which in Greece is traditionally prepared from goat milk, is mixed with cow's milk or sheep's milk. If only goat's milk is used for making cheese, then when curdling it is added enzymes and other special additives that increase clotting.
Formation of cheese heads
After curdling, the clot is placed in a prepared dish (sieve, basket, gauze) for further separation of whey. At this time, the future cheese is pressed. It is placed under the oppression, the weight of which depends on the desired consistency (density) of cheese. If hard cheese is prepared, the weight of the yoke must be increased gradually.
In addition, the taste of the cheese depends on the addition of salt, the salting affects the further separation of the whey, the formation of density (the salt solution dehydrates the cheese mass). Salt also plays an important role in cheese storage and ripening. Maturation
Externally, when ripe, the cheese changes color and humidity, characteristic holes of one type or another appear in it, a certain taste is formed. At the invisible biochemical level, there is a further change in milk proteins. Lactic acid bacteria continue to participate in this process. They, like all living organisms, need to create certain conditions.
For the manufacture of hard cheeses, repeated heat treatment is used, with the addition of additional ingredients to the curd grain. For each type of cheese, the requirements for curd (moisture, size) are different.
Important: for making cheese in the home kitchen from all the tools used in production, you probably need to purchase thermometers to monitor the temperature of the cheese during cooking and for the room in which further ripening will take place.
Recipe 1. How to cook ricotta whey cheese
- Fresh serum 8 l
- Fruit vinegar (6%) 100 ml
Heat the serum to 90 degrees, pour in the vinegar and stir in a saucepan until a clot forms, which must rise to the surface. Turn off the heat and wait for the whey to cool to 30-35 degrees. Pour the contents of the pan into a strainer. After 6-8 hours, put the cheese in a container.
Recipe 2. How to make homemade pickled feta cheese
- Milk, goat and cow 5 l
- Acidophilic bacteria 20 g
- Rennet 10 g
- Calcium chloride (solution 10%)
Heat milk to 30 degrees. This temperature must be maintained for an hour. Add acidophilus, calcium chloride solution and rennet. As soon as a clot forms, transfer it to a sieve installed on a pallet. After 10-12 hours, cut the clot into cubes of 1.0-1.5 cm and put them in the prepared brine. From brine cheese must be shifted to an airtight container with a lid after 10 hours. Keep refrigerated.
For brine: 50-60 g of salt (regular kitchen) per liter of boiled water.
Recipe 3. How to make melted cheese Products:
- Fresh, pasteurized curd (18%) 0.5 kg
- Butter 150 g
- Egg yolk 3 pcs.
- Whole milk 200 ml
The whole process of cooking cheese before the formation of the head should occur in a water bath with a temperature of heating water up to 70 degrees. In a large pot of water, place a smaller container (2.5-3 liters). In a smaller saucepan, heat the salted milk to taste and spread the curd, pre-wiping it with softened butter through a fine metal sieve. Stir the curd in milk with a whisk prior to coagulation. Remove the pan from the resulting clot. Hammer the yolks into the hot mass, one at a time, whipping with a mixer. Place the cheese on the steam bath again for 20-30 minutes, but do not mix it up anymore, just turn it over. Hot cheese put in the form until cool.
How to Cook Cheese - Tips and Tricks
- Add whey to the dough instead of water, and get double benefit from it.
- Okroshka lovers can use it instead of kvass: a new taste with additional useful benefits. Hash on whey can be eaten even for children.
- Popular and beloved by many Italian Ricotta cheese is made from fresh and warm whey immediately after cooking another type of cheese.
- Do financial expenses justify themselves in home-made cheese production? From one liter of milk at the output of 50 - 100 g of the finished product (depending on the type of cheese). Taking into account the cost of a liter of milk and a kilogram of the finished product is expensive. But whey, the main product of processing, is not waste, but a completely useful product that every hostess will find use in the kitchen.