HomePosts Tagged "cheese"

Since my last article was also about a recipe from my grandmother, why not dedicate the whole week to her cooking skills. I don’t know about yours, but my grandma was the best cook in town. But let’s not forget why we’ve gathered here today. Say cheese!

Making cheese has been an art for nearly ten thousand years beginning in Europe, then spreading around the world. There’s hundreds of different kinds of cheese with a range of flavors, textures, and appearances. Since it’s been around for so long, one may think it’s a difficult task to make in a home kitchen. Fortunately, soft cheeses are remarkably easy to make with only three ingredients:

  • whole milk
  • vinegar
  • salt

So how do these three simple ingredients come together to make such a great tasting cheese? The secret is in the vinegar. Traditionally, many cheeses require the enzyme called rennet to break down the milk proteins and separate the curds from the whey.

Vinegar will also curdle milk, but the result will be softer curds because vinegar isn’t quite as strong as rennet. Rennet will produce curds that are sturdy enough to make harder cheeses such as cheddar. If you want to expand your cheese making, rennet can be purchased online.

The result? An incredibly creamy and delicious ricotta-style cheese!

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The steps to making this amazing-tasting cheese at home is very simple. Begin by bringing one gallon of whole milk to a simmer, about 195°F/90°C (try not to let it go to a full boil). Stir continuously so the bottom does not scorch.

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Meanwhile, place a strainer in a large bowl or in the sink and line it with cheese cloth.

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Once the milk reaches a low simmer, remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup of white vinegar. The mixture should begin to curdle and separate into curds and whey. Stir in about a half teaspoon of salt and let it stand for ten minutes.

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Next, strain out and discard the whey leaving only the white curds. Keep the cheese in the strainer with the cloth lining for about an hour to allow it to drain completely.

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Once the whey has drained, collect in the cheese cloth and give it a light squeeze. This should remove any excess moisture while also forming it into a loose ball. Store in plastic and enjoy, no aging is required! Fresh cheese can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

There are many variations to this recipe, and many recipes to use it in. If there’s no white vinegar on hand feel free to substitute with homemade apple cider vinegar or the juice of one lemon. Fresh cracked black pepper and additional salt may be added, or even fresh herbs, minced garlic or homemade pickled garlic. Spread on toast or bagels, or even enjoy as a dip on crackers for a simple appetizer.  Fresh cheese would also work well in place of ricotta cheese; make amazing lasagnas, baked ziti, stuffed shells, or even desserts like cannolis.

Mozzarella is another soft cheese that has a few extra steps and the addition of rennet, but is also easy to make from home. If you want to keep it simple, other cheeses that can be made using the vinegar method include cottage cheese and mascarpone. For mascarpone, heavy cream is used in place of milk. For cottage cheese: skim milk is used instead of whole milk, more vinegar is added, and the curds are mixed with half and half before serving.

There’s nothing more satisfying then knowing exactly what is in the food you’re eating. Cheese seems like that untouchable ingredient that has to be bought in the grocery store, when really it is as easy as adding vinegar to heated milk. The soft, creamy fresh cheese has so many uses that it’s well worth taking a little bit of extra time to make!

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Since my last article was also about a recipe from my grandmother, why not dedicate the whole week to her cooking skills. I don't know about yours, but my grandma

“There’s almost nothing you can’t can!”, answered the dashing and well-prepped prepper from behind the screen. Since yours truly has been up to no good recently, I thought I would entertain you once more with yet another ‘masterpiece’ on food-preserving methods.

Why the title? Well, as you know, there are some things which go along marvellously with the canning process and some things that do not. Or so they’ve told me. Anyway, quite recently I learned that with a little bit of patience and thorough research, anything kind of prepping food could be, well, canned.

This time, I’ve set upon doing a really wild experiment – attempting to can cheese. Yes, you’re probably asking yourself right now why would I bother doing that when I can probably find the same product in the supermarket at a super-low price?

Because I can do without spending extra money on something I can do in the comfort of my own home. More than that, Velveeta cheese, aka the guinea pig of my first attempt at canning cheese, is an all-time favorite for both myself and my family.

Although I always make sure that there’s at least one unopened pack inside the fridge, I can’t keep up the pace with the rest of the family. What I like about Velveeta is its silky and smooth texture which reminds me of Cheddar. Actually, it’s sort of a cross-over between Cheddar and mozzarella – goes along great with pasta dishes, but can also be eaten plain, with some nuts and grapes on the side.

Anywho, for my first attempt at canning cheese, I’ve used a 16 oz block I got from my corner store. My aim was not only to prologue its shelf life but also to add even more variety to the pantry of emergency foods. And so, after a little bit of experimental kitchen time, I came up with this easy cheese-canning method. I can’t say for sure, but I think you can replace Velveeta with mozzarella or another soft cheese. So, here’s what you’ll need to do in order to get canned Velveeta.


  • One block of Velveeta or a similar soft cheese (aim for family packs).
  • Pressure canner.
  • Old-school grater or electric food processor.
  • Canning jars.

Have you done gathering all the necessary gear and ingredients? Neat! Let’s make some canned cheese then. FIY, although in the US the closest thing we have to canned is string cheese, in other corners of the globe, canned cheese is very common (think about Feta or cottage cheese). Anyway, here’s how you turn a block of regular Velveeta into a canned delight.

Step 1. Get all your ingredients together and put some water in the pressure canner. Don’t forget to set your electric canner to 10 PSI for the best results.

Step 2. Take a soft cheese knife and cut the block into manageable pieces.

Step 3. Carefully grate each piece. Don’t apply to much pressure, though. Remember that you’re working with Velveeta which can become mushy if you squeeze it too hard. On the other hand, if you choose mozzarella over Velveeta, you can skip the grating part and sort of make thin stripes with a fork or something.

Step 4. Prepare your canning jars. While making the recipe, I’ve learned that warming up the jars a bit goes a long way instead of waiting for them to cool down as you normally do when canning various other stuff. So, after washing the jar with liquid soap and water or boiling them, while they’re still warm, place them inside your pressure canner.

Step 5. Grab the bowl or plate of shredded cheese and fill each jar. Don’t forget to leave a small space between the jar and the lid (at least 2 inches). As the cheese melts, it will leave behind a tiny amount of oil.

Step 6. After filling each jar with cheese, place the lids, and tighten them gently. As always, don’t apply too much force because the canner will do that on your behalf. A word of caution before putting on the lids – make sure the jars’ mouths are clean and that there’s no extra moisture. To make sure the lids create an airtight seal, I would recommend submerging them in hot water before putting them on the canning jars.

Step 7. Bring the water inside the canner to a boil and cover. Leave the jars to simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove the jars from the canning machine and allow them to cool on their own. A solid piece of advice would be not to force-cool the jars. You’ll end up smashing them. The spread’s ready to be eaten right after the jars feel cool to the touch.

That’s basically it! Now, this recipe will get you about four or five regular canning jars of chunky Velveeta. If you like a smoother spread, try boiling the cheese beforehand. Take a big pot and toss the cheese inside. Use a spoon to stir the mixture.

When the cheese has melted, and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Continue to stir. After the mix begins to thicken, kill the flame, and place the pot aside for five minutes. Don’t allow the melted cheese to cool down completely, as you will not be able to can it. Repeat the process above in order to can this batch of cheese.

Well, I hope this answers your question on the fine and very subtle art of canning. Yes, we can, and yes, we will do it, because our household emergency stashes will thank up from the bottom of their heart. Hope you’ve enjoyed my piece on canned cheese and do hope that you will try to prepare at least one batch. Let me know in the comment section how this experiment turned out for you.

Well, as you know, there are some things which go along marvellously with the canning process and some things that do not. Or so they’ve told me.