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Friday, February 18, 2011

adventures with bacteria: the sequel

So, remember how I said I was going to make cottage cheese? It did not take long for me to follow up on this, because guys, I really like cottage cheese. So, according to Mark Bittman, this is dead easy. Basically, you heat up 2 parts milk to boiling-ness, add 1 part buttermilk, add salt if desired, stir around till thoroughly curdled, and drain through some cheesecloth. So I tried this--I even bought buttermilk special, although I probably could have used a lemon or something, because I wanted to go By The Book and make me some delicious cottage cheese. And the result--well, admittedly I let it drain a long time, because I had to go do laundry, so it drained for however long it takes to wash and dry and fold and come back from the laundromat. But, guys, this was not cottage cheese, or at least not by any definition I know. I took some pictures of it, so you could see for yourself, but my camera seems to have gone AWOL, so you will have to imagine it for yourselves. It was sort of oddly grainy. Edible, but not what I wanted. I later learned that maybe part of it is that commercial cottage cheese kind of re-suspends the curds in some cream, but honestly I'm not sure that was what was called for here either. It also needed salt, but that too was not the main problem. The problem was that I made ricotta, which I don't especially like, when I was promised cottage cheese. SADNESS. However, here is the upside! The upside is that this *would* make really good paneer, so I did that today, since I still have all this buttermilk. I even bought the fancier brand of milk at my grocery store for the purpose! (since the result basically tastes like milk). Basically you do exactly the same thing except you tie up your cheesecloth to make a little ball and squeeze out all the fluids, and then hang the little ball from something to make sure it is good and dry. I approve of the result of this product. It is delicious.

As a post script, I am now attempting to make yogurt, once again. We shall see what happens.

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