Monday, January 16, 2012

Pot Cheese: Best Name Ever

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Pot Cheese
Just the name alone must mean this is some pretty neat stuff.  Pot Cheese.  Around my house we call it sweet cheese, not to be confused with all of the very popular stinky cheeses everyone here loves.  I had to figure out what it is really called in order to record this as a recipe and to my surprise it has a name - pot cheese.  I know this new name will stick because it is fun to say for my little kids and of course for my big kids it causes snickers.  Perfect.

This is an amazingly good, uniquely flavored, and very versatile soft cheese.  It has a crumbly texture like ricotta and how wet or dry the final cheese is is completely up to you.  Peter loves this stuff so much he has been known to take a spoon and the Snapware of cheese and just eat it.  All.  He has also started doing some fermented projects that use the whey that is leftover from making this cheese, more about those later on.  I use it as a fat substitute in many baking recipes (the secret ingredient that ensures your cake will always be moist and not crumbly), as a taco topping in place of cotija cheese, smoothies, oven baked stuff jalapenos or mini sweet peppers, any recipe that calls for ricotta, any recipe that calls for cream cheese ... the list goes on and on.

All ingredients, no heat
Start out with all of your ingredients over a medium-low flame (the full recipe is posted below).  At first nothing seems to be going on.  


All ingredients heated through

After about 15-20 minutes though you can see that the milk solids are starting to separate out.  I think this is easiest to tell by carefully and gently giving the pot a bump and you will see that it is moving a bit more like a solid and small bubbles are forming around the edge.  You want to keep the heat going a couple more minutes once you reach this stage in order to be sure everything has started to form up.

Curds and whey
Once everything is heated through turn the heat off and move the pot to a cold burner on your stove.  Then just let it sit and rest and cool and do it's own thing for an hour.  When you come back to it the milk mixture will be very clearly formed into curds and whey.

Hanging pot cheese
You can do the final separation however you like - using a sieve lined with cheese cloth, a sieve lined with a tea towel, or a damp inside out jelly bag like I do.  I just hang mine from the cabinet handle until things are the consistency I like.  Your drip time will vary depending on which method you use so just have fun, experiment, and find what you like the best.

Pot Cheese


Michelle K.

Ingredients


  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice

Instructions


  1. Add the ingredients to a 2 quart pot. Bring to a very gentle boil over a medium-low flame - about 15 - 20 minutes. Once the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, turn the temperature down to low and cook for a couple of minutes more to ensure you have gotten everything completely heated through.
  2. Move the pot to a cold burner and let things rest for an hour. This is the final step in letting all of the curds form.
  3. While things are sitting set-up your separation equipment. Line a sieve with damp cheese cloth or a damp tea towel and put over a deep bowl or pot. I prefer a jelly bag that is wet and then wrung out and hangs over a bowl.
  4. Gently pour the entire contents of the pot into your cheesecloth/towel/jelly bag. I find it helps to ladle out most of the contents first and then just pour in the last bit - be careful, even though this has sat for an hour things can still be quite warm. Let this sit and drip until you have pot cheese the consistency that you want.
  5. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 3 weeks.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups, 40 servings

Prep Time: 00:05
Cook time: 00:20

Nutrition


Calories: 39
Total carbs: 2