Some store-bought cheeses that are labeled “raw” do not completely qualify for that designation, because though they are made from raw (i.e., unpasteurized) milk, they are heated above 115°F, the highest temperature that a food can be heated to maintain raw status. Plus, heating milk above 115°F, whether before or during the cheesemaking process, kills off many of the enzymes and bacteria that make raw milk so flavorful and nutrient-rich. I was intrigued by the idea of making a truly raw cheese so that I could fully enjoy the benefits of raw milk.
If you add an acid to warmed (near the cow’s body temperature) raw milk, it results in a quick and tender farmers’-style cheese, like this one, that truly demonstrates how much easier it is to make cheese with fresh milk!
This cheese gets its tang from the lemon juice, which just adds to the ultra-fresh flavor. It melts well, and though you lose some of the live enzymes when that happens, it’s nice to have that option with such a fast process. It’s so fast that you can easily make and eat this entire batch all within a half hour. Yes, I said and eat!
½ gallon raw whole cow's milk
1 tbsp flake salt
½ cup plus 3 tbsps lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained of pulp
1 Pour the milk into the pot.
2 Add the salt to the milk and stir it well so it dissolves.
3 Heat the salty milk on low to medium heat until it reaches 105°F.
4 Pour the ½ cup of lemon juice into the pot (reserve the additional 3 tablespoons) and stir thoroughly as you heat the milk to 110°F.
5 The curd will start to form into waves, with a texture resembling a poached egg. If you see no separation between curds and whey, add the extra lemon juice one tablespoon at a time, stirring and waiting 30 seconds for clear curd formation.
6 Turn off the heat as soon as you see coagulation. Confirm that the temperature has not risen and carefully dip your clean hands into the pot to gather and press the curd into (roughly) 3-inch rounds.
7 Gently press out the remaining whey while forming the cheese into rustic mini-wheels (think, plump patties). Applying light pressure will yield tender slices. Firm pressure will result in moist crumbles.
8 You should be able to shape about three 3-inch rounds. That’s it! Your Farm-Fresh Rounds are ready to slice or crumble onto your favorite dish.
Doesn’t look very appetizing, look at http://www.leeners.com/cheesemaking for some better cheese making recipes and instructions.
So, where the heck do you get raw milk in the United States?