Did you know that October is American Cheese Month? These days “American Cheese” means a lot more than the processed rubbery orange stuff in little plastic wrappers. There’s some truly great American cheese out there! To celebrate, I made my own cheese – and it was delicious! I almost couldn’t believe how easy it was and how well it turned out. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the making process, because I made it in a hurry before heading out for a dance/fitness class. But the cool thing about that is I was able to complete the process in under 20 minutes! Amazing.
I’m not posting the full recipe here because I followed a recipe from I Make Cheese. Check out the recipe on that site as well as some other great homemade cheese recipes and tips! I made 1/2 the recipe amount and it worked out fine. Basically, you warm your goat milk to 195F, and then add a bit of something acidic (I used Apple Cider Vinegar as in the recipe) and stir slowly, until curds start to form. Once you have some good curds going, you drain the mixture through a cheesecloth lined strainer. Once you’ve drained off the liquid, put the curds in a bowl and add a little bit of melted butter for richness & smoothness, a tad of baking soda for… well I’m not sure what the baking soda is for actually… and some salt to enhance the flavor. And you’re done! It’s really that easy.
The first spoonful while the ricotta was still warm was heavenly. It was smooth and creamy with just enough salt to enhance the delicate flavor. I didn’t really do much with the ricotta, just kept eating it out of the bowl with a spoon over the next day or so. It was irresistible! I did also spread it on some toast with a drizzle of some really nice honey. Yum.
I chose to make a goat milk ricotta because I like the complex flavor of goat cheese and I thought it would be fun to do something a little different – I haven’t seen much goat milk ricotta! In the end you couldn’t really taste the goat milk flavor very much, so don’t be put off even if you don’t normally enjoy goat cheese. The ricotta was very mild and creamy with just a vague hint of the grassiness and tang of goat cheese. A note – don’t try to substitute other types of milk in this recipe – it was specifically made for goat milk and different milks have different fat contents and composition, so I’m not sure this exact recipe would work with cow’s milk or sheep’s milk. I’m sure that it is just as easy to make cow milk ricotta and there are lots of great recipes out there!
Have you ever made cheese before? What is your favorite American cheese?