Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Family Hobby: Cheese

We decided to start a "family hobby" and our family hobby is making cheese.  We haven't made actual cheese yet, but we have started with the basics (so far we have made yogurt and labneh).  We are taking an "online course" that Adam found here.

Our first course was making yogurt, and it turned out well.  It required a half gallon of milk and store-bought Dannon yogurt.  We ended up with two quarts of yogurt... and it is good, good!

Our second course was making labneh (pictures seen here).  Labneh is yogurt that has been... strained of the whey... for lack of better description.  Here we have stirred the yogurt (with salt added to it), then scoop it into a clean and sterile cloth and hung so that it can weep.  Twenty-four hours later, labneh is formed.  Labneh is a traditional food of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.  And labneh goes really well with pita chips!

So, after getting our labneh started, Adam and I made up pita bread (yes, from scratch -- pictures seen here).  The next night, Adam baked us up some pita chips, balled up the labneh, and we had ourselves a snack.  DELISH!

Our next course is Neufchâtel... what you also might know as a form of cream cheese.  We were planning to do it this week, but my hives episode got in the way of things... so this next week we'll be diving into the next course... and eventually working our way to other cheeses.  It has been a blast so far and we even get Julia involved with stirring, etc.  For now, Raven enjoys being held and watching everything take place.  But I'm sure that eventually she will be a cheesemaker as well.  :)


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