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Making a Soft Cheese from Buttermilk

deluxestogie

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#1
I've done this before, starting with fresh (store-bought) milk, and adding a buttermilk culture. Once the batch is well curdled, you just pour it into a colander lined with butter muslin (or triple layers of cheese cloth), and hang it over the sink, to allow the whey to drip out. In a few hours, you have a soft, spreadable cheese. Salt and season as desired. You can do the same thing with ready-made yogurt.

It's been at least a few years since I've done this. Today, at the grocery, I purchased a half-gallon of cultured buttermilk. It's already buttermilk, so what could go wrong? I set the colander in the sink, poured the thick buttermilk into the butter muslin, then set about knotting the 4 corners of the cloth, to suspend it.

Within less than a minutes, all but about a teaspoon of the buttermilk had gone down the drain.

What had not occurred to me was that when I make it from scratch, I control the degree of curd formation. At the buttermilk-industrial-complex, they carefully allow their product to thicken to a specific viscosity, then homogenize and pasteurize it. There never were any curds. Just thick liquid.

My shoulders slumped. I wasn't angry. I just felt stupid.

Bob
 

ArizonaDave

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#2
Well, you're definitely smarter now! We all do things that sometimes make us feel dumb. Just this morning, I indulged in this new Hawaiian coffee, drank so much I made 20 Fakebook posts. I win the dunce hat :(
 

Smokin Harley

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#3
I've done this before, starting with fresh (store-bought) milk, and adding a buttermilk culture. Once the batch is well curdled, you just pour it into a colander lined with butter muslin (or triple layers of cheese cloth), and hang it over the sink, to allow the whey to drip out. In a few hours, you have a soft, spreadable cheese. Salt and season as desired. You can do the same thing with ready-made yogurt.

It's been at least a few years since I've done this. Today, at the grocery, I purchased a half-gallon of cultured buttermilk. It's already buttermilk, so what could go wrong? I set the colander in the sink, poured the thick buttermilk into the butter muslin, then set about knotting the 4 corners of the cloth, to suspend it.

Within less than a minutes, all but about a teaspoon of the buttermilk had gone down the drain.

What had not occurred to me was that when I make it from scratch, I control the degree of curd formation. At the buttermilk-industrial-complex, they carefully allow their product to thicken to a specific viscosity, then homogenize and pasteurize it. There never were any curds. Just thick liquid.

My shoulders slumped. I wasn't angry. I just felt stupid.

Bob
Sorry for your loss ,Bob...maybe you should have put in some rennet...
 

deluxestogie

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#4
Yup. There are a lot of "maybe I should have" issues here. Familiarity (and the passage of time) breeds stupid.

A half-gallon of buttermilk would have made a lot of really fine salad dressing.

To add to the embarrassment, I have all of my cheese-making recipes printed out, and hanging on the face of a cabinet in the kitchen. Even a quick glance would have clarified things.

Bob
 

ArizonaDave

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#5
Yup. There are a lot of "maybe I should have" issues here. Familiarity (and the passage of time) breeds stupid.

A half-gallon of buttermilk would have made a lot of really fine salad dressing.

To add to the embarrassment, I have all of my cheese-making recipes printed out, and hanging on the face of a cabinet in the kitchen. Even a quick glance would have clarified things.

Bob
Bob, I've learned so much from your posts, and have great respect for everything you do. I learn a lot from all your success and failure. Thanks for being humble enough to share both.
 

deluxestogie

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#6
Thanks.

I do confess, though, that I share all of my successes, but only some of my failures.

Recent success: made-from-scratch, floating matzo ball soup.
Recent failure: creamed corn, Velveeta and chili no-beans soup.
[Consolation prize is that the failures are sometimes edible nonetheless--assuming they don't vanish down the drain of their own accord.]

Bob
 
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