You Can Make Butter and Cheese at Home!
To Make Butter:
- Heavy whipping cream from the grocery store
- Glass jar with tight-fitting lid
Pour the cream into the glass jar and screw the lid on tightly. Shake the jar back and forth at a steady pace. After a while, the cream will separate into butter and buttermilk. You will know they have separated when you can see chunks of butter floating in the buttermilk. (It helps to have more than one person for this, as it is tiring to keep shaking the jar!)
Take out the pieces of butter and wash them (squish around with a spoon) in several rinses of clean, fresh water until the water stays clear; this is how you know all the buttermilk is washed out. Pack the butter in a container and store it in the refrigerator. Or, if you would like to preserve it 18th century-style, mix in about a spoonful of salt to every 2 cups of butter. If you will be storing it for a long time, mix in a lot of salt– just remember to wash the salt out before you use the butter!
Pour the buttermilk through cheesecloth or a strainer to take out all the remaining particles of butter. You can store the buttermilk in the refrigerator for a few days to use in cooking.
To Make Cheese:
- 2% milk from the grocery store
- 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice
- a non-reactive pan (like stainless steel)
- a piece of clean, loosely-woven cloth
Pour the milk into the pan and heat it slowly over a stove until it is almost at the boiling point.
Turn off the heat, and pour in about a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Stir the mixture a few times, then let it sit undisturbed for a while–at least an hour. The milk will curdle, with chunks forming at the top and the liquid settling to the bottom.
When it looks like it is finished curdling (about an hour), pour the mixture through a cloth. The chunks (curds) will be caught in the cloth while the liquid (whey) drains through.
Tie the cloth closed, and let the bag hang somewhere until it is finished dripping. You now have soft cheese! You can eat it immediately, or store it in the refrigerator for a few days.
For additional helpful information and supplies, try the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company at www.cheesemaking.com