Saturday, November 9, 2013

charkesian cheese

this is a very simple and quick cheese that is named after a minority in israel: the charkesians/ circassians. this cheese can even be made with milk that might be considered slightly to old for regular cheese. hadar, who teaches us how to make cheese showed me how you can tell that goat milk has been standing for too long. you start the cheese making process by heating the milk and if the milk burns on the bottom of the pot and smells strongly goaty it is not suitable for making yoghurt or other cheeses out of it. it might even curdle when you heat it (liquids separating from the solids).
if this happens you might still be able to make charkesian cheese out of the milk. 
the process is quiet simple:
  1. you heat the cheese to 90°C 
  2. then take it off the heat and stir it so the milk will be in motion. now slowly add some vinegar until you see the curds separating from the liquids. make sure not to stir it now (you might break up the curds), just make sure that the vinegar reaches everywhere.
  3. drain the whey carefully, add salt and/or herbs and pack the cheese into cheese shapes.
  4. let it drip for several minutes and when the cheese separates from the shape when you tilt it you can flip the cheeses and put it back in the cheese shape so they will get an even appearance and texture.
  5. now let it sit a bit more and your cheese is finished =)
i was amazed how fast this cheese works and how simple it is. it is perfect for beginners like me and gives instant reward. it is only a very simple cheese though and the turnover is not very good (ratio of milk to finished cheese).
(i will need to take some good photos next time we make some... it is always eaten so quickly ;))