Making Soft Cheese from fresh milk
After milking the Jersey cow, we strain the milk and put it on the cook stove to pasteurize. Some folks prefer to drink raw milk, but we have always pasteurized ours. We heat the milk up to 140*, stirring slowly. Then we hold it there for 30 minutes.
We cool the milk quickly in a pan of ice water and then put in the fridge overnight to let the cream rise to the top. We skim the cream off for butter and what’s left is wonderful milk for drinking or making cheese and cottage cheese.
If you have too much milk and want to make cheese, put one gallon on the cook stove to heat back up after getting the cream off. Heat the milk up to 180*, stirring constantly and using a thermometer. When the milk is hot enough, take off heat and add 1/2 cup vinegar. Stir slowly. Let the milk cool while stirring and watch the curds separate from the whey. I let mine sit an hour or so before straining. Click on pic to see larger image.
I just use a colander like this to drain the cheese curds. You can use cheese cloth also to squeeze the excess liquid out. And here is the soft cheese. You can put it in freezer bags to store. It is a great use of milk when you have too much to drink.
For Cottage Cheese, take some of the cream you saved off of the milk and add it back to some soft cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, experiment to find the flavor you love. I add Salsa to my soft cheese to add to scrambled eggs. Lots of folks flavor their soft cheese with herbs and garlic.
You can add spaghetti sauce to some soft cheese the day before making spaghetti and the cheese will take on the flavor of the sauce.
We also make a lot of Apple Sauce. We have 2 very old trees that bear a lot of apples each year. I peel them with an Apple peeler, cook them with a bit of sugar till soft, and then run them thru the tomato strainer while still warm and it makes the best Apple Sauce ever. I freeze in peanut butter jars.