Tag Archives: milk

How To: Creme Fraiche.

30 May

Alrighty. Creme fraiche. So it turns out creme fraiche is ridiculously easy to make. All you need is some heavy cream, culture, and a warm-ish windowsill. Emphasis on the warm-ish windowsill. I made this stuff in early May and Boston was still dealing with some shitty weather, so although I left my jar out for almost two and a half days the creme fraiche did not thicken correctly. I ended up sticking it in the fridge and then leaving it out for again for about an hour when the sun finally showed up, and it thickened almost immediately. Bacteria yay?

It is very fun to make. Very. It doesn’t involve much active process, but you feel triumphant anyway. Like an ass-kicking pioneer woman who is about to blow your bloody MIND.

1 container heavy cream

1 TB buttermilk or 2 TB yogurt – I used yogurt

jar

This picture makes me believe that the cream is ready to conquer the WORLD.

So. Pour all of your cream into a jar and add the buttermilk or yogurt. I used 2TB of greek yogurt. I had read that the cultures in yogurt aren’t as “strong” as the ones in buttermilk so I doubled the recommended amount. The yogurt you use will impart a slight flavor to your finished creme fraiche. For example, I used a tart greek yogurt and my creme fraiche was likewise slightly tart.

Stir in the yogurt/buttermilk and leave it (preferably uncovered, unless you’re worried about bugs) at room temperature for 24-48 hours. Keep in mind that it will continue to thicken slightly once you move it to the fridge.

I left it out longer (2.5 days).  On a warm day I would probably leave it for 12 and then check on it to ensure that it is thickening correctly, but you likely won’t need to leave it out for so long. Mine, even after 2.5 days, was initially very thin. I then left it out in the sun for maybe an hour and it thickened right up.

This is how it looked after 2.5 days.

As you can see, it wasn’t coagulating correctly. It still tasted good, it just didn’t quite have the texture I was after. If you end up with runny creme fraiche, remember that you can always whip it like whipped cream if you wish. I was actually planning on doing that until the sun finally showed up.

You can use the finished product in so many ways, just be sure to use it up in a week-ish. (I’m a little lax with expiration dates…I basically use something until it starts to smell.) (TMI?) Things I made:

Scrambled eggs

Pancakes

Creme fraiche/nutella strawberry dipping sauce (you just swirl the two together).

Enjoy!

❤ stef

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Recipe: Goat’s Milk CHEESE!

28 Feb

I finally got around to hauling out my kit from Urban Cheesecraft and making some queso.

And it was AWESOME.

I love making things that you usually have to buy (marshmallows, anyone?) because it makes me feel oddly powerful. Like, eff you world! I can MAKE SHIT. If the zombie apocalypse came tomorrow, you would definitely want me with your roaming band of survivors. I’m not a big fighter, but I can knit (which means I carry pointy sticks, more conducive to vampire slaughter, but still), I can sew, and I can cook. I know how to make bread and butter, though we will have to find a suitable lactating animal for the latter. You know, cow or goat. When the zombie apocalypse hits you won’t want to be too picky. For all you smartasses who think you can’t make butter from goat milk, YOU’RE WRONG.

So my cheese-making experience was fantastic, except that I almost over heated my milk. One of the crucial steps in cheese making is separating the curds from the whey, which occurs when you heat your milk. I assumed that I would be able to very visibly see the curds separate, that they would be able the size of cottage cheese curds. Not so! The curds were so tiny I could hardly see them and I thought I hadn’t heated the milk enough. Fortunately I read the FAQ over at Urban Cheesecraft and discovered that not all curds are large. In my case, I ended up dipping a metal spoon into the heated milk, and when I pulled the spoon out it was dotted with tiny white specks. Curds!

So, what follows is your basic goat cheese making technique, found in the recipe book that came with my Urban Cheesecraft kit. You can find online recipes, too, but I highly recommend buying a kit from the good people at Urban Cheesecraft! It’s not as though you can’t make cheese without it, but they make it so much easier. Mine came with yards of butter muslin, molds, a thermometer, vegetable rennet, citric acid, cheese salt, and recipe booklets.

Soft Goat’s Cheese

I cut the original recipe in half.

1 quart goat’s milk

1/2 tsp citric acid

1/4 C water

cheese salt (which is just flaked kosher salt). Make sure the salt you use doesn’t have iodine or anti-caking agents.

butter muslin (very fine cheesecloth)

thermometer

colander

big bowl

cheese mold (optional)

Grab your goat’s milk.

This is the first time I had ever bought goat’s milk. I was understandably curious.

Tastes just like moo cow milk. Yum!

Dissolve the citric acid into the water and put aside.

Pour your goat’s milk and the citric acid/water mix into a large pot and clip a thermometer to the side of the pot. You want to make sure your thermometer tip is not touching the bottom of the pot, it should be suspended in the middle of the milk so it can take an accurate reading. Don’t use an aluminum pot, either.

Slowly heat the milk to 185˚F, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat at medium-low. You do not want to over boil the milk, nor do you want to over stir. (So, just make sure you aren’t stirring constantly and you’ll be fine!)

Once the temperature reads 185˚ the curds should have separated from the whey. If you can’t tell (and like I said, I couldn’t), grab a metal spoon and dip it in to the milk and take it out. If it has little white dots on it, the curds have officially separated.

These are curds. I know, I can't see them either.

Turn off the heat and let the milk sit for about 10 minutes. While you are waiting, grab your colander, line it with the cheesecloth, and put it over a large bowl.

Slowly pour the milk into the cheesecloth lined colander, and allow to drain for 15 -30 minutes.

Once it has drained, add the salt and herbs if you like. I added a bit of rosemary, but although it flavored the cheese well, the rosemary itself was a little bitter. If I were to do it again, I would use something sweeter like basil or thyme.

Gently stir to combine.

Line a cheese mold with cheesecloth and place it over another bowl or a plate. Scoop the curds into the mold.

If you don’t have a mold that’s ok. You can just scoop the curds into a piece of cheesecloth and tie off the top. This way would probably work better if you suspend the bag over a bowl somehow, maybe by tying it to a cabinet handle with a bowl on the bottom. The reason you’re scooping the curds into the cheesecloth bag or mold is to further drain and shape the cheese. The longer you leave it to drain, the more firm your cheese will be. Regardless of which method you choose, allow to drain anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours. I left mine for about an hour.

Now that your curds are chillin’, you’ve got lots of whey to worry about.

Pour it into an airtight container. It will keep for about 2 days. Urban Cheesecraft gives lots of suggestions for how to use whey. You can feed it to your kitty, use it in place of broth in soups and stews, or make hot chocolate with it instead of using milk or water. Basically, you can use it in any recipe in place of milk or water. They do give this warning, though-whey has LOTS of lactose.

When your cheese is ready, remove it from the cheesecloth or mold and put it in a container. The cheese will keep for a week or two.

You can use it however you like! The first thing I did was put it on some leftover caramelized onion pizza.

I also made two batches of pasta – sun dried tomato and goat cheese, and brussels sprout, sausage, and goat cheese. Yum!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Chocolate Muffins with Nutella Glaze

3 Nov

Or, my Halloween costume.

There is a story behind these muffins. It was 7pm last Friday, on the night before Halloween. I had a party to attend but no idea what to dress as. The night before I had gone to a bar/club thing with some friends dressed as a Moulin Rouge/Can Can dancer, but that costume had involved wrestling myself into a corset (made by Dark Garden; these corsetieres are serious about their work) which is very difficult to do when you live alone. Lacing the back of your own corset while you’re wearing it is just a bit more involved than zipping up your own evening gown.

I was unwilling to grapple with the corset on Friday and was looking for something a little easier, when I remembered that I have a collection of adorable aprons stashed away. It was then that the idea for a 1950s Housewife costume was born. I grabbed one of my circle skirt dresses, a strand of pearls and one of my aprons (from Anthropologie). Yet something was missing, something I couldn’t quite define…

Yes! It was a tray of baked goods. 1950s  housewives always have baked goods. I decided on muffins because I didn’t have ingredients for frosting, but I did have a recipe for chocolate muffins that claimed they were as good as cupcakes. Unfortunately, it was my first time baking with the oven in my apartment and the muffins ended up being burnt around the edges. I solved this problem by creating the Nutella glaze – I essentially mixed together Nutella and milk and poured it over the muffins. Yum!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what happened to my Recipes I Made as a Child segment, I haven’t forgotten! I plan to start back up next week with a recipe from Samantha’s Cook Book for Apple Brown Betty. I can’t make too many baked goods in a single weekend. That’s just insane.

This isn't too far off from what I look like everyday, actually.

This isn't too far off from what I look like everyday, actually. Notice the single muffin. They were a hit!

Recipe, from Totally Chocolate Cookbook by Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham

1 stick butter

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

3 eggs

1/2 C sugar

2/3 C sour cream

3/4 C flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Glaze:

2 TB nutella

1/4 C milk

Melt together the butter and the chocolate in a pan on low heat, whisking occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.

Allow to cool. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are foamy.

Once the chocolate and butter have cooled (a little warmer than room temperature is ok, you just don’t want it to be hot or there is a chance it will curdle the eggs) add it to the sugar and eggs, stirring to combine. Add the sour cream.

Then, mix in the flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Chocolatey delicious!

Spoon the mixture into muffin tins, filling them nearly to the top. You should have plenty of batter to make 12 muffins. Make sure you either grease the muffin tins or use liners!

Put in a 375˚ oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When they are done and while they cool, make the glaze.

Take 2 TB of Nutella and put it in a pan on low heat. Slowly mix in the milk a little at a time. You want the consistency to be even and smooth, like liquid Nutella.

Take a fork and pierce the surface of each cupcake about 2-3 times. Pour (approximately) 1.5 TB of Nutella glaze over each muffin. If you have more glaze, just distribute as evenly as possible over the muffins.

Allow the muffins to cool. Give to your friends.

<3, Stef