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How To Make Your Own Cheese And Dairy Products Naturally

homemade cream cheese

If you have ever looked at the packaging on your dairy products, you may have been shocked to see that most of them are not 100 percent pure dairy. Many dairy products contain additives and preservatives. If you are trying to keep your family on an all-natural diet, you don’t want to buy these products. You need to learn how to make your own dairy products at home. You will know what is in them and can make them when you need them to ensure freshness. The following recipes will get you started.

You will notice that many of the products require living dairy product such as raw milk or yogurt. You can find this at health foods stores or a local dairy, unless you happen to own a cow. Once you have your first batch of most of these, you can set a small amount aside to use as your starter on your next batch.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a remarkably easy dairy product to make at home. You can make this a day or two before you need it. It will last approximately two weeks; however, you can smell it to determine if it has soured.

Equipment and Ingredients

  • Large clean bowl
  • New tea towel or hand towel
  • 1 quart yogurt with live cultures or raw soured milk

Note: If raw milk is used, it needs to sour. Sit it out on your counter top on its side for 24 hours. This will give the milk time to sour or “clabber”. Once it has clabbered, follow the directions as indicated for using yogurt.

Line the bowl with the towel. Pour the yogurt or clabbered milk onto the towel. Using the sides of the towel, pull it up and tie in a knot. Secure the towel with string or a rubber band. Use a wire clothes hanger or string attached to the towel to hang it from a knob over the bowl. Gravity will pull the liquid or whey out of the towel and leave the solids inside.

You can let the towel hand and drip for as long as desired. The amount of time it drips will determine the thickness of the cream cheese. If you want firmer cream cheese, allow the towel to drip longer. When ready, put the whey in a glass jar with a lid, and store in the refrigerator. It will last up to six months.

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Take the cream cheese and flavor as desired. You can add herbs, spices, fruit, honey, or just leave it plain. Store the cream cheese in a container with tight fitting lid in your refrigerator. One quart of milk or yogurt will make two cups of cream cheese and two cups of whey.

Whey is a protein packed with protein, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. You can use it in place of milk when cooking, add it to smoothies or shakes, or save it to make ricotta cheese.

Butter

Rich, creamy, homemade butter is a treat your family will come back for over and over again. Years ago, families would spend hours churning butter; today, all you need is a kitchen aid and some organic cream.

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Stand mixer
  • 2 cups organic heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in your stand mixer and attach the whisk. Set the speed on 8 or 9 but not on high. Allow the mixture to whip for ten or fifteen minutes. You will notice a large amount of liquid in the bottom of the bowl with solids accumulating on the side.

At this point, remove the solids from the bowl and squeeze it into a ball. Turn on the cold water and keep squeezing the ball while under the running water. This removes the buttermilk from the butter and prevents it from ruining quickly. Keep squeezing until the water runs clear.

Wrap the butter in plastic and store it in the refrigerator. If you want to add herbs, do so before wrapping in the plastic. The butter will last a few weeks.

You can store the liquid from the mixer, which is buttermilk, in glass jar with a lid. You can use this in baking or any other recipe that calls for buttermilk.

Crockpot Yogurt

Yes, it does say crockpot yogurt. You can make this creamy yogurt in your slow cooker with a few simple steps. Your friends and family will be impressed, and you will know it’s all natural and healthy.

Equipment and Ingredients

  • Crockpot
  • Milk – you can use whole milk or any milk you choose
  • Sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, vanilla or others
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt with live cultures (after this batch is made; you won’t have to buy cultured yogurt

First, pour 1/2 gallon of milk into the crockpot. Turn the crockpot on low and allow it to cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes (for a 2-quart crockpot, cook it for 2 hours and 45 minutes). At the end of this time, add the sweeteners you chose. You need 3/4 to 1 cup, depending on what you choose. You can also add 1 tablespoon vanilla. Use a whisk to mix in the sweetener or leave it unsweetened if you want plain yogurt.

Let the milk cool in your crockpot, with the lid on, for three hours. Next, put one cup of milk from the crockpot into a bowl and add 1/2 cup of the cultured yogurt. Mix them together well and add the mixture back to the milk in the crockpot.

Use thick towels to wrap the crockpot thoroughly and allow it to sit for 8 to 12 hours. After the yogurt mixture sits for 12 hours in the crockpot, transfer it to your refrigerator and allow it another 8 hours to develop the creaminess you expect from yogurt. Before you store it in containers, set aside 1/2 cup to use as the cultures in your next batch.

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Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is a rather expensive treat that is wonderful in recipes and as an appetizer. You don’t have to go broke taking goat cheese hors d’oeuvre to your next party. Make a batch of your own goat cheese to serve with crackers and fresh fruits. Your friends won’t believe you made your own cheese.

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Thermometer
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth
  • Bigger bowl
  • Colander
  • Heavy Item such as a can of food
  • 1 liter of goat milk, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided into equal parts
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs du Provence or any other herbs

Place the colander inside the larger bowl and line with cheesecloth or a new, clean tea towel. Mix the goat milk and buttermilk in a saucepan and clip the thermometer to the pan. Use medium heat to bring the milk to a temperature between 175° and 185°F.  When the milk begins to bubble and curdle, remove it from heat and add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. The acid in the lemon juice will increase the speed of the curdling process.

You should watch the temperature on the thermometer until it drops to 120°F. Once at this temperature, use a ladle to put the mixture in the cheese cloth that you lined the colander with earlier. Let this mixture stand while the whey drains out of the cheese. Next, tie the cheesecloth with a rubber band or string and place something heavy on top of it like a plate with heavy canned goods on top. The weight of the plate will help force liquid out of the cheesecloth. Put the bowl with the colander in the refrigerator for at least two hours to drain thoroughly.

After two hours, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Take the cheesecloth and scrape the cheese into a clean bowl. Add your seasonings and mix well. Finally, add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For best results, you should let this sit for two hours before serving to allow the herbs to intensify.

These are just a few of the basic recipes you can use to make your family dairy products that have all-natural ingredients. As you learn more techniques, you can increase the amount you make and always have fresh, wholesome yogurt, butter, and cheese in the refrigerator.

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