Thursday, March 14, 2013

Daring to do it: Getting Cheesy

Ok, I might be telling you too much here, but there are times, when I can't fall asleep, when I will think about what might make a cool challenge for the Daring Kitchen.  Cheese has crossed my mind, but I kind of thought that was a joke my mind was playing on me out of exhaustion.  Well, the amazing Sawsan is braver than I am, and she had this challenge in store for us...

Sawsan from chef in disguise was our March 2013 Daring Cooks hostess! Sawsan challenges us to make our own homemade cheeses! She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious!

Wow.  Cheese.  Really? 
Yup, really.  Sawsan gave us a variety of recipes to choose from, and was so super supportive of all of us trying new things.  I knew this would be an odd one for me.  Between my lactose intolerance and Little Girl's milk allergy, I wasn't looking forward to lots of playing with milks.  We already keep skim (cow), soy and rice milks in in the fridge, was I really going to have to bring in more?  Well, as I looked around at both the recipes Sawsan provided and others on the web, I decided that, yes, a fourth kind of milk would be making its way into the house.  Raw, whole goat milk.  I had decided to make goat cheese.
First, the supplies -
goat milk:
a strainer over a bowl:
cheese cloth, which I don't have, so an old, somewhat worn, clean pillow case:
candy thermometer:
lemon juice:
Once the goat milk reached temperature (well, once it looked right - my thermometer decided it didn't want to move...) the lemon juice was added to the milk, then it was left to curdle.
Straining out the whey (gotta love the "fancy" straining mechanism I hooked up...):
Drained cheese!
I think I might have drained out more of the whey than I intended to, as the finished cheese was rather crumbly.  But it was really good!  I added some salt, black pepper and nutmeg, which complimented the lemony taste.  I think a drizzle of honey would have made this amazing, and I am planning on making it again!
Having made the goat cheese, I really wanted to try one of Sawsan's recipes.  So I decided to make labneh - a strained yogurt cheese.  But, as usual, I couldn't manage to quite follow the rules.  The recipe calls for Greek yogurt, which is thicker than "normal" yogurt.  But I didn't have the time to go ot to the store. What I had on hand was regular yogurt, and vanilla at that.  So a dessert cheese was in the works!
Vanilla yogurt, mixed with a little salt and a bit of vanilla sugar, set in my fancy straining set up to drain:
Look at all of that whey...
Mmmm....  creamy goodness!
This cheese turned out amazingly thick, creamy and tangy.  So good.
I decided to make some dessert balls of this yogurt, and rolled them in a cocoa-cinnamon-sugar mix.  Yum.

Thank you so much, Sawsan, for pushing us to learn so much this month!  I hope I can find some vegetarian rennet one of these days and try some of the other cheeses you taught us about.  This was amazing.
If you want to be amazed at what you can make at home, check out the cheeses made by my fellow Daring Cooks!


  1. Hey Ruth, one more time I have to congratulate you on your brave journey through the challenge. Your cheeses turned out wonderful. I still want to make labneh, but never thought of turning it into a dessert. I wonder how good that was :)

  2. Raw goat milk! Wow - I am impressed that you were able to find that.
    Great job on the challenge!

  3. Dessert cheese rolled in cocoa, cinnamon and sugar? I love it!!!

  4. Thank you so much for the kind words Ruth! and thank you for coming on this cheese making adventure with me
    I really love the idea of a dessert cheese and can't wait to give it a try very soon. I think the kids will be over the moon if they tried it

  5. Oh yum, goat cheese! That sounds seriously good. I love that you made sweet labneh with vanilla yoghurt too - I must try it.