The recipe is also very forgiving, if you overheat it or underheat it a little, it still turns out fine. Also, the times for sitting and hanging seem to be fairly flexible; however, the longer it sits after about 8 hours, then the tangier it seems to get.
The ingredients are just milk, buttermilk, and liquid rennet (scroll down for a link for buying the rennet), and you can use homemade buttermilk or buttermilk from the store – they both work fine.
For this batch, I left it plain because I want to serve it as an appetizer with honey or homemade hot pepper jelly drizzled over it. You can also mix seasonings into it – your imagination is the limit as to how you want to flavor it!
Heat the milk to 98°F, add the liquid rennet drops to the buttermilk, and add the buttermilk/rennet mixture to the warmed milk.
Once the buttermilk/rennet mixture has been stirred in, simply cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 – 12 hours at room temperature or until soft milk solids form (you can see them under the whey in the photo below).
Once the solids have formed, take a long knife and cut the milk solids into curds.
Pour the curds into 2 layers of cheesecloth that you’ve prepared (lay one layer of cheesecloth one way and the other the opposite way so that you have four corners that you can tie together for hanging) and hang to drain, making sure that you’ve placed something underneath to catch the whey. The whey can be used to replace liquids in baking, or in many other ways – it’s high in protein.
Let hang for 8 – 12 hours, and then remove it from the cheesecloth. Break the ball open to see if enough moisture has drained away and it’s the consistency you prefer (if not rehang and let drain again).
You can season the cheese in many ways, or leave it plain. For this batch I left it plain, and formed it into 3 cheese rounds that I’ll drizzle honey or hot pepper jelly over for an appetizer. The 1 gallon of starting milk will produce around 27 ounces (three 9 ounce rounds in this case) of cheese, depending on how much it’s been drained.
Pretty easy, right? I originally obtained this recipe via Ellen Dorsey, so thank her 🙂