Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mysost Cheese

Obviously, if I had my act together this would have been posted before Bastille Day (which was Monday, July 14!). But since that's obviously not the case, we'll just pick today to talk about cheese. Because, really, any day is a good day to talk about cheese.

My cheese making experiments have continued and after a disaster in December (where my cheddar cheese that I'd been aging for six months was spotted with mold), I've stepped back from cheddar until I can get a real cheese press. After much research and discussion with those who are in the know about cheese-making, my failure with the cheddar was in the cheese press rigged up from weights and other household objects.

So a few weeks ago I tried a new cheese with the whey (this is the leftover milk from making a fresh, white cheese). In the top photo, the cheese on the left is a fresh white cheese with herbs. You can find a how-to on that here. My cheese book says you can use the whey in lots of things like as a broth for soup or just pour it on your house plants as a fertilizer.

Or make mysost - a Norwegian cheese that is like goat cheese but made with cow's milk. I will be honest and say that I did not like the taste of this cheese (but I also don't like goat cheese). However, we took it to some friends' house and they both liked it. It has a sweet-sour flavor and the color can range from a light to a dark brown.

This is the whey that was left over from my marinated fresh cheese (in the top photo). As you bring the whey to a boil, foam will appear. Scrap this off and place in a bowl - save this in the fridge. 

Continue to boil slowly and uncovered over the lowest heat possible (that will keep the boil). When it gets down to about three quarters of what you started with, add back in the saved foam. You can also stir in heavy cream at this point. I started with the whey left over from a half gallon of whole milk and added in about half a pint of heavy cream. If you started the process with 2 gallons of milk (for the first cheese) you would use 1 to 2 cups of heavy cream. 

Once it starts to thicken, start to blend until the consistency is smooth and creamy (otherwise the cheese will taste gritty). 

Continue to cook over low heat and stir constantly. When it gets to a fudge-like consistency, place the pot in a sink of ice water. 

Keep stirring in the sink as it cools. Once it is cool enough to touch, pour into a mold. Traditionally this would be a rectangular mold but I used a ramekin. Just what I had! 

Let it cool and then turn out of the mold. It can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. 

There's not a whole lot of resources out there for cheese making. Basically, Ricki Carroll is the big know-how person in America. I would suggest her book "Home Cheese Making" over her cheese-making kits. I found the instructions in the kit to be lacking and had to refer to her book to get needed details. William-Sonoma makes kits that I found very easy to follow. The kits do come with the cheese cloth, thermostat and a mold, but you may already have these items in your kitchen.

Not a product endorsement - just my personal experience!

And, I know you may be wondering how I got from the French Bastille Day to Scandinavian cheese but I read this article about how to serve a cheese course, and it reminded me that I had these cheese pictures to share! I'm going to have to incorporate a cheese course the next time we have company - and I love that it comes after the main meal. Opposite of what I would think!

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