Monday, March 15, 2010

Mother's Milk Cheese

by Danelle Frisbie
Chef Daniel Angerer's maple caramelized pumpkin encrusted mother's milk cheese with texurized concord grapes

I'll admit - the very first time I heard about mothers making cheese from their own milk I wasn't exactly turned onto the idea for myself. Of course, this was long before I was to have a child of my own and begin lactating for the first time. It was also in the midst of my early investigation into all things perfect about providing human milk to human babies (no matter their age) and the monumental benefits of using breastmilk in a variety of ways. At the time, I did not think making cheese with my own milk was something I would ever try. Even years later as I skimmed a breastmilk cheese article in Mothering Magazine (2007) I agreed with friends that it was maybe just a tad 'too much' for me - great for those extra crunchy types...but I wasn't there - yet.

Today, as the impassioned lactivist that I am, and fully equipped with more information on the benefits of human milk for humans vs. cow's milk for cows than I could have ever dreamed there to be, I am somewhat enamored with the idea of using one's own milk to make tasty treats (be they popsicles, yogurt, or cheese) for our little ones. After all, I would much rather my child eat something made from ingredients designed specifically for him, than from those made specifically (and entirely differently) for another mammal. I'm still not certain I have the talent for my cheese to turn out as well as Chef Daniel Angerer's (below) but who knows, maybe I'll give it a go and report back. For now, here are his tips, tales, and trade in case you'd like to try out a little mom's milk cheese manufacturing at your home. If you do - or if you have your own recipe that works even better - be sure to share in the comments below.



Chef Daniel Angerer's mother's milk cheese with beets and romaine

Chef Daniel Angerer's Mother's Milk Cheese Recipe:
(basic recipe using 8 cups of any milk - yields about ½ pound cheese)

2 cups mother’s milk
2 cups milk (just about any animal milk will work)
1½-teaspoon yogurt (must be active cultured yogurt)
1/8-tablet rennet (buy from supermarket, usually located in pudding section)
1 teaspoon sea salt such as Baline

1. Inoculate milks by heating (68 degree Fahrenheit) then introduce starter bacteria (active yogurt) then let stand for 6 – 8 hours at room temperature, 68ºF covered with a lid. Bacteria will grow in this way and convert milk sugar (lactose) to lactic acid. You can detect its presence by the tart/sour taste.

2. After inoculating the milk heat to 86 degrees Fahrenheit then add rennet (I use tablets which I dissolve in water) and stir throughout. Cover pot and don’t disturb for an hour until “clean break stage” is achieved, meaning with a clean spoon lift a small piece of curd out of the milk - if it is still soft and gel-like let pot stand for an hour longer. If curds “break clean” cut with a knife into a squares (cut inside the pot a ½-inch cube pattern).

3. Raise temperature slowly continuously stirring with a pastry spatula (this will prevent clumping of cut curd). This is what I call the “ricotta stage” if you like this kind of fresh cheese – here it is. For cheese with a little bit more of texture heat curds to 92 degree Fahrenheit - for soft curd cheese, or as high 102oF for very firm cheese. The heating of the curd makes all the difference in the consistency of the cheese. When heated the curd looks almost like scrambled eggs at this point (curd should be at bottom of pot in whey liquid).

4. Pour curd through a fine strainer (this will separate curd from whey) then transfer into a bowl and add salt and mix with a pastry spatula (this will prevent curd from spoiling). Whey can be drank - it is quite healthy and its protein is very efficiently absorbed into the blood stream making it a sought-after product in shakes for bodybuilders.

5. Give curd shape by lining a container with cheese cloth (allow any excess of cheese cloth to hang over edges of container). Transfer drained, warm curd in the cheese cloth lined container (I used a large plastic quart containers like a large Chinese take- out soup container and cut 4 holes in the bottom with the tip of my knife). Fold excess cheese cloth over top of cheese then weight curd down (with second container filled with water or such) then store in refrigerator (14 hours or so – put container into a second larger container – this will catch draining whey liquid).

6. Take pressed curd out of container (flip container upside-down then unwrap carefully not to damage structure of pressed curd). Rewrap pressed curd with new cheese cloth then age in refrigerator for several weeks (cheese will form a light brown skin around week two – this is normal). Age cheese longer for a more pronounced/sharper cheese flavor.

More from Daniel, including his additional tips for breastmilk cheese, here.

Chef Daniel Angerer's mother's milk cheese rolled in dehydrated porcini mushroom powder with burned onion chutney

Another very simple (but maybe not as tasty?) recipe from CheeseMaking.com

Place your milk into a bowl and add some rennet. Rennet is an animal derivative that contains an enzyme called rennin, which will cause the solids in the milk to clump. Drain off the excess liquid, and press together the solids. Voilà! You have cheese!

7 comments:

  1. I'm still tryng to figure out breastmilk yogurt

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  2. I really wanted to do this for my extra small toddler. At the time I couldn't find out how to do. If i ever have another, this will be one of their first foods! :)

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  3. Well on TV last week this chef made Gelato from his wife's breast milk and had the hosts to try it :-)

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  4. I have some frozen stuff I have no use for I was thinking of making butter....

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  5. It would be cool if this recipe was made entirely from breast milk and a vegetarian rennet of some sorts. Good idea, but could use some improvement if you ask me. :)

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  6. I agree with Tara. I was a little put off by the recipe when half of the ingredients is still another mammals milk. There is a vegetarian rennet out there that is not rendered from the stomach of a cow, but I don't know how readily available it would be. I would love to make this cheese with a few minor corrections done to it. Thanks for the post! :)

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  7. Hey, we made sourdough English muffin bread with my wife's milk once, since I was halfway through the recipe before I realized we were out of (cow's) milk, and she had some in the freezer. I think the final product was better than normal—maybe owing to breastmilk's being a lighter milk with more sugar?

    I'm only being half facetious when I say I think there's an untapped market in human milk products for adults. It makes more sense than adults drinking uddermilk intended for baby cows. And which is better, women getting paid to produce milk, or dairy cows being hooked up to factory machines all day?

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