Making cottage cheese
Do you like cheese? Think how smug you’ll feel when you mention you make your own cottage cheese. The following is what I remember from years ago.
Start by acquiring a batch of skim milk. Don’t worry. You don’t have to go out and buy a milk cow.
You can simply go purchase some skim milk at the local grocery store. Once you have said skim milk at hand, put it in a kettle (large) and let it stand around for a couple or three days. It will clabber — which is to say, it’ll start looking like coagulate which is to say, it’ll get thick and separate like little-bitty ice floes. It’ll also start stinking as it turns sour. You’ll know it’s clabbered enough when you can still stand the smell.
Next place the kettle of clabber on the stove. On the warm setting. That means barely above room temperature. Do not stir. The pot should get hot, but it shouldn’t quite simmer. If the kettle becomes too hot to hold your hand against it, then the heat might be too high. Probably the clabbered milk will have to sit there on barely warm temperature for two or three hours depending on how much you started with. The stuff will begin to curdle. Take a bit of curd between your fingers and thumb and roll it about. It should feel softly grainy, sort of like feeling tapioca.
When you’ve decided it’s done, remove the kettle from the stove. Dump the contents into a fine mesh sieve. Let the sieve of curds drain for a time. (Drain the drip into another container. That’s buttermilk. Use in pancake batter, cakes or drink ice cold for a summer treat.)
If you have more than a sieve of curds, get a bigger sieve or use a jelly bag or a generous length of cheese cloth. After draining, run cold water through what’s left.
When drained, put what is now your basic cottage cheese into a large bowl. Add cream, milk or buttermilk but don’t make it too soupy. Add salt and pepper to taste. For fancy cottage cheese, add chopped green onions, chives, peppers, pineapple, peaches or what have you…
Cottage cheese will freeze beautifully. (However, freeze the cheese before adding liquid or goodies.)
CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE
Cottage cheese, cottage cheese
Does not come from trees or bees.
First you find a willing cow
(Do not hitch her to a plow);
Stroke her gently till her milk
Comes down easy just like silk.
On the stove then place a kettle,
Fill with milk and let it settle.
When the milk turns sour and smelly
With a texture just like jelly,
It has reached a stage of clabber
Thickened much like pudding batter.
Heat it slowly, let it curdle,
Don’t be speedy, be turtle.
When the curds are firm to touch,
Cooking’s gone on long enough;
Take it off the stove and strain it;
Remaining liquid? Do retain it!
For butter milk in pancake batter,
Or drink it cold; doesn’t matter!
And should Miss Muffet pass your way,
She’ll be wanting curds and whey…
Hey, Hey! ❖
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.