Okay, so of all three of my cheese-making attempts, only one has really been “cream cheese”–I think. The first batch was made by straining the whey out of a botched batch of yogurt that had separated. So technically it was yogurt cheese, I guess. It was actually very tasty–I used it to make a pasta dish–but the texture/consistency was weird. As in it didn’t melt well and just got all rubbery when I tried to make my pasta sauce.
My second cheese was made with whole milk. I think it just wasn’t getting used up. So I let it separate, which is done by leaving raw milk to sit at room temperature for 1-4 days (depending how warm the room is) until it looks something like this:
The milk actually divides itself into solid chunks and whey. Then you strain the whey through a clean cloth. Here’s a picture of the milk after I dumped into into the towel:
Here’s what my second cheese looked like:
The yellow part is the cream, and the white is other milk solids. I tried to “cream” it in a bowl, but it just had this strange cottage cheese-like texture. I thought I’d use it in a recipe, but never got around to it and ended up tossing it.
My third attempt was definitely not “cream” cheese as I used skimmed milk for it. By this time I had bought a fancy straining contraption (actually a jelly strainer), which was nicer than using a dish towel and metal mesh strainer over a bowl, followed by tying the towel to a wooden spoon hung over a pitcher.
The whey drips right into the measuring glass which makes for easy pouring into a mason jar afterward. This time the cheese looked like this:
It has a sort of ricotta texture. Maybe it would be good in lasagna? It will probably go bad before I figure out what to do with it.
I suppose cheese-making is an art that doesn’t always come easy. Luckily, I didn’t really care about the cheese. I was really just wanting to get the whey, which I use for lacto-fermentation, and sometimes add to smoothies. A little whey goes a long way, so I really don’t have to do this too often, and so far I’ve only done it when the milk was going to go to waste anyway, so I don’t really care too much about the wasted cheese.
I don’t know why anyone would want to try to make this cheese after seeing my pictures, unless you just wanted some cultured whey. Here’s the recipe, anyway, super easy.
“Cream” Cheese and Whey Recipe
raw milk, yogurt, cultured buttermilk, or piima milk (live cultures are key here)
Leave milk on counter till it separates (should see a clear distinction of whey and milk solids). Yogurt doesn’t need to separate first, but it takes longer to strain.
Strain through a clean cloth into a bowl or other container for several hours. Tie up cloth into a bundle and tie to a spoon and hang over a pitcher so it continues to drip (or just get a jelly strainer, it’s simpler). When it’s done dripping, cheese is ready. Refrigerate cheese (up to a month) and whey (up to six months).
Now, if someone could just tell me what to do with my cheese?