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Find cheese kits and cheese making supplies in Portland stores now!

May 29, 2009

Good news! If you’re in Portland, you can purchase a kit at these Portland, Oregon stores. I will keep adding as the list grows. If you own a store or want to suggest one, I’d love to hear about it. Enjoy and always come back for updates on the kits etc. thanks!

 is a cute kit like this in your future?

is a cute kit like this in your future?

Stores:

http://www.albertagrocery.coop/ (all 3 kits- moz/ricotta, paneer/queso blanco, fresh goat cheese)

http://www.urbanfarmstore.com/ (moz/ricotta kit by June 5)

cheese talk on the radio!

May 20, 2009

Hello cheesemakers! Just wanted to let you know something kind of funny, I’m going to be interviewed about cheese making and my cheese kits on a small Internet radio station this Thursday, May 21. It’ll be a show called Chocolate Covered Bacon through http://artisanshoppe.com/, 3pm Pacific Time, 6pm Eastern Time.

Click install or listen live depending on your set-up and you should be good. It won’t be riveting or anything but it’s kinda cool especially if any of you want to promote your handmade goods too. They’re all about artisans of all kinds. Tell them I sent you!

Also, I’d love to hear from those of you who have already received and tried your cheese kits. Please post on this blog or email me with questions, ideas, feedback, testimonials etc. Thanks and happy cheese making,

Queso Blanco

May 4, 2009

Queso Blanco is the easiest of all cheeses to make in my opinion- great for beginners and kids!

Thick and Crumbly Queso Blanco

Thick and Crumbly Queso Blanco

 

To use this cheese in salads I drizzle a little olive oil in a cast iron pan, sprinkle the cheese with salt, pepper, sometimes chili powder (any herbs and spices you like), brown it (it uniquely doesn’t melt, just browns and gets soft and chewy) and then add the crusty warm chunks to our salads. Use any dressing you enjoy. SO GOOD and a full meal!

Queso Blanco

you need:

1 gallon of whole or lowfat milk cow or goat milk– regular grocery store pasteurized is fine but NOT ultra or ultra heat pasteurized.

1/4-1/2 cup of vinegar (I use apple cider but any will work though they all give their own flavor) or 2 tspn citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup of water (for citric acid or a complete Queso Blanco and Paneer Kit visit our SHOP)

1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste- at this point you can also add chives, fresh chopped herbs, cayenne, anything!)

Heat the milk to a foamy, steamy simmer. Do not allow to boil or your cheese will taste cooked and will be rubbery. If you have a thermometer it would be between 180-195 degrees F. Be sure to stir often to prevent scorching.

When you see steam and foam and a gentle simmer, turn the temp to low and slowly drizzle in your vinegar. You may not need it all before you start seeing the clear separation between curds and whey. It’s like magic! When you see it, stop the drizzle and cook for about 10 seconds longer.

Turn off the heat and ladle or pour your curds into a colander lined with butter muslin or cheesecloth (or a boiled tea towel or even a large coffee filter, if you use regular grocery store cheesecloth, triple it at least, the holes are very large). Allow to drain for 20 minutes or so.

Then take your cloth corners and gently twist more whey out of the bundle. Open it up and mix in your salt. Stir it in evenly and taste until you like it.

curds

curds…pure potential

For a softer cheese, hang this from a hook or faucet and let it drain for another hour or so (place a bowl underneath to catch the whey). You now have a cheese that can be called a fresh cheese, bag cheese, farmer cheese or in our case, Queso Blanco.

For a nice firm cheese that you can cut up and use as a meat replacement (like tofu), place the bundle back in the colander, put a plate on top of it and then fill the empty gallon of milk with water and use it as a weight on top of the plate.

Let this sit and continue to drain for 1 more hour or until the cheese is as firm as you like it. Then it’s ready to eat fresh and soft as is or cover and refrigerate. It firms up more in the fridge. Enjoy!”

Spicy Queso Blanco

making mozzarella cheese with kids- it works!!

May 3, 2009

I recently gave a cheese kit to some friends in Austin. I was staying with them and since they’re entrepreneurial foodie types I thought they’d enjoy one. They did, but they soon asked for a demo and offered me the assistance of their three kids!! Gulp. Ranging from 9-2 years old…a challenge to say the least.

I was concerned that one, it would be too passive of an activity…step one, let’s watch milk heat up slowly…my other concern was that when we got to the stretching part they’d burn themselves.

Well, I’m happy to say that they remained pretty much interested (though the two year-old “multi-tasked” in other rooms halfway through) and we did indeed end up with mozzarella that they all took to school the next day :). As a bonus, no one burned themselves though we did sacrifice a good stretch for that bonus! Here we are hard at work, note my concerned look!

ps. Ideally I’d start kids with queso blanco- although it is not as hands-on, it’s faster, fool proof and does not involved dunking your hands into super hot water or stretching curds! check out my recipes section

shameless plug for my new etsy shop www.UrbanCheesecraft.etsy.com

April 23, 2009

If you live in or near Portland, Oregon you’ll be excited to have access to cheese making supplies and kits locally through my new etsy shop www.UrbanCheesecraft.etsy.com!

When I was first getting into cheese making I was sad to find that I had to order from the US east coast or eastern Canada. I have done my darndest to source supplies locally in this order- from Oregon for most things and whenever possible, from California next and because I can’t avoid it yet, Canada but it’s the Western side not Quebec as is commonly found. Nothing against Quebec or the east coast, I just don’t want to buy things that have to travel so far to get to me.

So check it out and enjoy supporting a local business by trying a fun and delicious kitchen craft or getting a nice gift for a crafty person! Maybe mom?

In the kits you get all the cheese making supplies you need to get started. Here is a photo of the Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit. I also offer a Paneer and Queso Blanco as well as Fresh Goat Cheese/Chevre Kit. They run between $17-$26 so they’re totally affordable. Enjoy!

the mozzarella and ricotta kit- enough supplies for 10 batches!

the mozzarella and ricotta kit- enough supplies for 10 batches!

I guess I have something against hanging my cheese from weird places.

April 19, 2009

I bought this “banana tree” at a thrift store for $2 (they are meant for hanging your bananas on so that they don’t bruise while they ripen in your fruit bowl at home) and I intended to use it for another project’s photo shoot. I did not end up using it so I had this useless kitchen accessory around (I eat my bananas way too fast to have them hanging around). Then, light bulb over my head clicked on!

It is TOTALLY fine to hang your draining cheese from a kitchen cupboard door knob as well as it is to hang cheese bundles from sink faucets, wooden spoons across bowls, hooks over the sink, wire fridge racks etc. But now that I’ve figured this out, I won’t go back. I love it’s portability and cleanliness. lovely cheese draining tree
If you’re interested, they make these in bamboo, wood, and wrought iron (mine is wrought iron as you can probably tell).
Very, very simple to set up. Hang the knotted bundle from the hook, place the whole thing in a bowl or dish that can catch the whey as your cheese drains. Put it in the fridge or not as your recipe calls for. That’s it!

Are you a Cheese Nerd? The basic stages of making fresh cheese (in this case for easy microwave mozzarella)

April 19, 2009

The joy that these photos bring me makes me feel like such a cheese nerd. The milk, curds, the whey, the cutting, the ladling, the coagulation, the end result. Oooooh.

note: My apologies for the lack of photos between curds and finished mozzarella knot. I was alone in the kitchen and can’t exactly take photos while stretching and shaping hot mozzarella. I will enlist a photographer soon and add those photos but for now, know that yes, there are steps in between. Unless you have a special microwave oven, you’ll have to do some work before it turns into the finished product. These were just photos to nerd out on, not a full instructional. See my recipes soon though!

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