I have learned to make yogurt, ricotta and mozzarella but several weeks ago decided to try making a hard cheese. Colby Cheese is a type of cheddar and only has to be aged from 2 to 3 months. Perfect for a first time cheese maker. It was rather a long process with a lot of heating the milk and then letting it set and then heating again. Once the curds were ready they had to be put in a cheese press. Being rather frugal my husband decided to make our cheese press and our cheese mold. He used some scraps of lumber to build the press and used a plastic jar to make the mold. Very creative and the press looked very professional by the time he was finished.
The recipe I used was from the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, one of the best books around for home cheese makers. This book is available in our Home Front Store.
First the milk was heated to 86 degrees and the starter was added. The milk was covered and allowed to sit for an hour. Making sure the milk’s temperature was 86 degrees the rennet was added, stirred for several minutes and then allowed to sit for another 30 minutes or until the curd gave a clean break.
The curds were cut into cubes using a clean, sharp knife.
The curds were then heated until the temperature reached 102 degrees, maintaining the temperature the curds were stirred gently for thirty minutes.
At this point the whey was drained off to the level of the curds and additional cold water was added. To have a nice moist cheese the temperature had to be kept below 80 degrees. This temperature was maintained for 15 minutes at which point the curds were poured into a colander and allowed to drain.
Once drained, the curds were broken into smaller pieces, salt was added and the curds were placed into a cheesecloth-lined mold.
The cheese was first pressed at 20 pounds for 20 minutes.
Then 30 pounds for 20 minutes,
40 pounds for 1 hour
and finally 50 pounds for 12 hours. Between each pressing the cheese was removed from the mold, the cheesecloth was peeled away and then re-wrapped. With each pressing you could see that the cheese was getting more compact. After the final press the cheese was removed from the mold, the cheesecloth was peeled away and it was allowed to air dry at room temperature for several days.
Once the cheese was dry to the touch it was waxed.
I now have a beautiful round of cheese aging for 2-3 months. From the 2 gallons of milk I got 2 pounds of cheese. Now to be patient for the next few months before I can actually try it.
Next on my list is to make Parmesan.
First of all, for all who have been wondering about the mystery item mentioned yesterday in The Pantry Game, we had one correct guess Miracle Whip! Amazing what is in a commercial jar of mayonnaise.
Today’s recipe is another family favorite. If you haven’t tried overnight waffles you’ve been missing an awesome treat! I love this simple recipe; you mix up the majority of the ingredients the night before. In the morning you add the butter and an egg and the mix is ready to be turned into delicious waffles. What better excuse to enjoy maple syrup. I enjoy using this recipe when we have company. It makes for a delicious, easy breakfast in the morning without much effort on your part.
Amazing Overnight Waffles
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
2 cups milk
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 large egg
Butter for the waffle iron (op)
Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a medium size bowl.
Add the milk and whisk until blended.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
In the morning the batter will have all sorts of bubbles on the surface.
Preheat the waffle iron and melt the butter. Beat the egg in a small separate bowl and beat it into the batter along with the melted butter. The batter will be quite thin.
Lightly spray the hot waffle iron on all surfaces with the nonstick spray and rub on a little butter. Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface. Cook for two to three minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Do not over bake, as you want it crisp and brown, but not too dark.
Serve with your favorite toppings. Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled!
Serves three to four. These waffles also freeze well. Any leftover waffles I let cool on a baking rack and then wrap and place in the freezer.
Perfect to pop in the toaster on a busy morning!
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Today I want to mention a fantastic cookbook that can help you to use all those wonderful items you have stored in your pantry. We have the link to this book in our Home Front Store. Just click on the link on the right side of the page and you will find the link. The book is called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
This book will teach you as much about nutrition as it does about cooking. It is full of recipes and the information given is easy to understand. I highly recommend this book.
Nourishing Traditions has a section called “Know Your Ingredients” where it will list the ingredients and you have to guess the item. Hence the Pantry Game! I will list the ingredients for you and you can try to guess the item. Enter your guess under the comments and tomorrow I will give you the answer! This is an item that could very well be in your refrigerator! It is also something that you could easily make yourself.
Product: Water, soybean oil, sugar, vinegar, food starch-modified, salt, cellulose gel (microcrystalline cellulose), mustard flour, egg white, artificial color, sodium caseinate, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, spice, paprika, natural flavor, betacarotene (color).
We’re having a cold, dreary day here in Vermont. It’s been raining on and off and I’ve even noticed a few snow flurries. Not the day to be working outside. Instead I have an inside project. I’m sure you’ve seen the seed tape they sell in catalogs. Designed to help you plant those very small seeds like carrots so you don’t have to do as much thinning. Did you know you can also make these easily at home?
Here’s what you’ll need:
Flour paste – ¼ cup flour and enough water to make a paste.
Strips of paper to make the tape, you can use black and white newspaper, single-ply toilet paper or a thin paper bag.
Something to dab the glue on such as a small paintbrush or a toothpick.
Start by making the paste, start with the flour and add enough water until you have the consistency of a paste.
Check your seed packet for the recommendations as to how far apart the seeds should be planted.
Dab the paste onto your strips of paper as far apart as you would plant the seeds. Just drop the seeds into the paste. Drop the same number of seeds that you would plant in your garden.
Allow the paste to dry completely and roll up your tape. You are all ready to head out to the garden!
For most seeds you will just need to lay the tape down in your garden and lightly cover it with soil. Water and watch the seeds grow! The paper will eventually decompose and you’ll never see it again.
I’ve been meaning to try making my own tortillas for some time. Today I finally got around to it. I checked out a number of recipes online and basically they are all the same!
1 ¾ cups masa harina
1 1/8 cup water
In case you’re wondering what masa harina is it is finely ground corn meal.
In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add more masa harina. If it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high.
Divide dough into 15 equal size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap.
Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on the second side for approximately 30 seconds more., then transfer to a plate.
Repeat process with each ball of dough. Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.
I may have to invest in a tortilla press! I found it hard to roll them into perfect circles. However I mixed up some refried beans (healthy style) and we enjoyed them for dinner! Too easy!
Several weeks ago I shared a recipe for Kale chips. My husband and I enjoyed these so much I wondered if there were other vegetable chips I could make at home. After a bit of searching I found a recipe for Broccoli Chips on KeepItSimple.com.. I decided to give it a try. First time around I usually try a recipe as it is written; second time around I make a few changes. This recipe was really good, the only change I would make would be to either try seasoned breadcrumbs instead of the panko bread crumbs or just use more seasoning. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg plus a splash of milk, whisked together
A dash of salt, onion powder and cayenne pepper (mixed in with the crumbs)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the broccoli stems into thin coins.
Dip the coins into the egg mixture and then coat them in the panko mix.
Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake the broccoli coins for about 10 minutes or until the coins are tender and fragrant.
You could fry these too but then they wouldn’t be as healthy a choice.
I made a batch while I was making dinner and they were perfect to munch on while I was prepping the rest of the dinner.
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