Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hungarian Cheese Making Inspiration, and yogurt report

You know when you find something you really like but you can't get it you have to make it, right? Well, as I wrote about in my last post about not getting the sheep's milk yogurt anymore, I had a cheese in Hungary that just "sealed the deal"....and I don't know what kind it was...arghh! Anyway I think I narrowed it down to a kind of farmers cheese/cottage cheese/fromage blanc/ricotta. I had been interested in making cottage cheese before I left because of my smoothies so this was just one more sign that I needed to follow up.

The first picture above is one of the cheeses I bought at the Hungarian Farmers' Market (along with some yogurt and fruit). It was a soft white cheese with a very mild flavor, but held it's shape and was sold in wedges to your specification (second picture it's the cheese in the upper left corner). Elena Lakatos told me that it was a common cheese usually mixed with fruit but also used in a savory way served with bacon......hmnn....that's how I came up with my blueberry, cheese and bacon lunch I ate on the plane was delicious! Anyway, of course I can't get this cheese here so I've been looking for the most similar I can find.....or make!

The natural progression (because you know I'm all about progressions!) is to start with the easiest, yogurt, graduating to a "yogurt cheese", and then maybe cottage cheese, also similar to the two cheeses known as farmers cheese and fromage blanc. Ricotta is also supposed to be super easy, as is creme fraiche, sour cream, I started with yogurt.

The yogurt I made came out OK to be honest. I didn't follow the directions exactly because I started with some differences. First of all I bought my milk in the morning and left it out of the fridge until I started making it around 4:45pm so it was, not warm but, close to room temp from the beginning. Which was a good thing because I hadn't re-read the directions until it was too late to be reminded that the first cooking time was 2 1/2 hr, and then another waiting period of 2 hrs, before the final 8 hrs....I forgot about the 2 hrs in the middle because I go to bed at 8:00!

Through researching online the common theme was to get the milk to a certain temp and then let it come down and maintain the lower temp for around 8 hrs, or overnight (same thing). Because my milk was not cold when I started I only needed about 1 hr 15 min to get the temp at 150-155 degrees. It took a little over an hour to come down to 115-ish that's when I added the starter and left it overnight insulated with the towel covering the crockpot.

4:00am....the picture in my last post is what I woke up to. Although it was a bit runny and curdley I wasn't worried about the texture as much as the flavor. I seperated it into small containes and put it in the fridge thinking it may firm up a didn't. No biggie, firm yogurt is not as important as how it tastes..... I didn't find the flavor to be better to be honest. I've had a few really good store bought yogurts, in fact the one I used as a starter was better! (Strauss Family plain full fat) I'll try again of course, but what to do with this batch?

I ended up making yogurt cheese with it (3rd picture). I put it in a strainer lined with a floursack kitchen towel and let the whey drain out. The result? Hmm, hmm goodness, thick goodness! And I for every 2 cups of yogurt cheese (also known as Greek style yogurt), I had 4 cups of whey protein! (4th pic)

This of course is just the beginning. The idea and ease of making my own dairy products is exciting but I'm not going to go crazy on you all by sprouting stuff or going vegan! I may look into fermenting, but only because I read an interesting recipe for fermented lacto-salsa (I have to use that whey!).

My attempt at bread is today/tomorrow (it's got to rise for 12-18 hrs!).


Maribel said...

man oh man....that looks sooooo good! Ok, I need to man up and take the plunge. What's the worst that can happen?

Tracy Reifkind said...


It's so easy you are going to kick yourself! I think your kids will really like making and mixing their own stuff!

Besides, I'm sure you have a crockpot, don't you?

Oh, the worst thing that can happen, but won't, is that you waste the price of a 1/2 gallon of milk.....remember not ultra pasterized.

I'm going to stop off at Country Sun market in PA to see if they've got some raw milk, or something closer to it. Goat milk is so going to happen too!

Maribel said...

You're right...I only buy plain yogurt and they add whatever frozen fruit we have to change it up. I'm gonna try it and see how they like it.

Goat milk would be so awesome!

What kind of bread are you making? I have a great book called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, If I remember, I'll bring it to class for you to check out.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I didn't get to the bread yet....if I make it, I'll eat it and I've been eating plenty of other stuff lately!

Totally hooked on dairy these days, but that's another story!

Oh, but I'm going to make frozen yogurt with my yogurt cheese!