Saturday, November 21, 2009

Making cheese at home

Avril (who will turn 4 later this year) has been recently very interested in cheese.  At home she tried different kinds of cheese.  Some of them she liked (Brie, Camembert, mozarella) and some she didn't (blue cheese, Swiss cheese) but she was definitely interested in it. And at school the kids have been recently playing the "cheese shop". All this led me to trying to make cheese at home. Avril loved the idea.
As expected there is a lot of online advice on making cheese. Most simple recipes have the same basic idea: heat up milk and add either lemon juice or vinegar and the only special equipment needed is cheese cloth.  Easy enough.  We settled down on the recipe from the Food Wishes blog because I liked the idea of adding buttermilk and seeing both the ingredients list written down and a how-to video was useful.
We bought the cheese cloth at a nearby Bed, Bath and Beyond but you can buy them easily online. This one got good reviews on Amazon.
We bought the three ingredients: whole milk, buttermilk and lemons in a grocery store and we were all set.  Making cheese turned out to be as easy as it sounded and the cheese was very tasty! A few days later, we made cheese following the same recipe at Avril's school.  The children took turns at various parts of the process and then they had cheese for lunch. Teachers and parents tried the cheese too.  I can recommend this as a great activity for children who are 3 and older.
Here's a picture of Avril scooping curds into the cheese cloth: