Saturday, September 11, 2010

Powdered-Milk Cheese

I just made cheese out of powdered milk, water, and lemon juice!  Recipe here, photos and more after I try it again with a larger volume of milk.

3 cups of milk powder and 1/5 cups of cold, filtered water mixed together (no heat yet).

On medium low heat (about a 3.5 on my electric stove), bring to about 140 degrees.  I didn't measure with a thermometer, I just stuck my finger in.  When it's the temperature of a hot bath, you're good.  Add 1/4 cup white vinegar.  The milk should begin to curdle immediately.  (Note: the first time I did this, it only curdled a very little bit.  This means either your temp is too low or you didn't add enough acid.)

Immediately after adding vinegar.  The yellow bits are the whey.
 Keeping the temperature steady at hot-bath, stir and watch curds form.  After no more than two minutes (if you've added enough acid), it should be in one or two big globs of curd, like this:

Where's Little Miss Muffett when you need her?
Remove from heat, and pour through cheesecloth or a clean white tee-shirt.  (Note: the first time I did this, I used cheesecloth from Cub.  It had a very low thread-count, and the cheese stuck to it awfully.  This time, I used the tee-shirt method.  It still stuck some, but not as badly, and I think the shirt is salvageable for cheese-use again, unlike the cheesecloth.)

Sorry for the weird angle.  Trying to keep my shadow out of the pictures.
 Strain and squeeze out the whey (the liquid stuff), reserving it if you like-- I hear it makes good bread.  More on that later.  When you're done, you should have a lump of cheese, like so:

Now, the site on which I found the recipe says you should have as much volume of cheese as you originally had powdered milk.  I did not find that to be the case; I used 3 cups of powdered milk, and ended up with maybe a cup of cheese.  Anyway, I tried a little and it didn't taste like anything, so I took some salt in my hand and kind of kneaded it in.

As for the whey, I did save it, and will try making it into bread dough at some later date.  For now, it's going in the fridge.

Not urine, I swear.
Verdict: easy enough to make, although it tastes very bland.  But it melts correctly when heated, so I think it would work well in omelets or other dishes where the cheese is primarily a cohesive agent, not a key part of the flavor.

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