Alright, I can already hear the chuckles, and the comments (i.e. "Are you kidding?"), but I am very serious. Since we are focusing on Cheese items, let's try to use the unusual things....like Cheese Powder. This is a recipe from "Cooking with Powdered Milk" by Peggy Layton. If you don't have Ms. Layton's book, or any of her other wonderful books, put them on your Christmas list because they are wonderful and reasonably in price. To purchase her books directly from her, please go here.
Today, I will demonstrate how to make Cheddar Cheese. Please note that I chose to use a White Cheddar Cheese powder, so that the cheese will not look orange. I was just experimenting...but it will work just as well with the more orange powder that is readily available from most food storage suppliers. Here are the steps (and don't be overwhelmed by all the pictures...I am Type A if you haven't figured it out by now:)
Select a pan with a thick bottom, or use a double boiler to avoid scorching.
Grease your pan and begin to heat it.
Into a Bowl, pour in 6 Cups of warm water.
Pour in 1 Cup of Vegetable Oil
Pour in 4.5 Cups of Powdered Milk.
Pour in 2 and 5/8 Cups of Vinegar
Pour mixture into hot, greased pan.
Heat to 115 degrees to form the curds.
Here, you can see the curds forming.
Now, I differed from the recipe. It states that you should rinse the curds from the whey in warm water and then cold. Well, I decided to capture the whey as I wanted to use it later. I placed the colander in a bowl to do this. Then I rinsed them as directed.
I found that I needed to stir them to help the whey and curds to separate.
Add Salt to taste.
Add 9 Tablespoon of Cheese Powdered (again, I chose to use White Cheddar Powdered, but could have used the common Orange Cheddar Powder instead).
Put into a cheese cloth and press between two plates. I lined the plate with 2 layers of cheese cloth and allowed enough to bring the ends together and tie off before putting on the second plate.
Press between 2 similar plates.
Place a one pound weight to press out any additional whey. I found that I needed more weight to do this, so I eventually added another can. When liquids are pressed out, wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
What is the take-home message? There is really no specialized equipment here. With purchased Cheese Powder, you could make your own cheese.
Here are other links for more cheese recipes that can be made at home. Several require Rennet, which is often sold under the brand name of "Junket". These are inexpensive tablets that are easy to store.
Cheese Recipes from Junket
Cheese Page by Dr. David Fankhauser
Give it a try.....soon!