How to make Soft Cheese and other Alchemy

Home made soft cheese

When I posted a photo this homemade soft cheese on social media, someone described it as alchemy and, in a way, it is.  

One of the definitions of alchemy is: “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination” and making soft cheese is a transformation of liquid milk into solid cheese.

The good news is that making soft cheese at home is really simple especially if you use the Lekue Cheese Maker.  There are no moving parts, it’s simply a perfectly-sized bowl with it’s own strainer to let the whey run off the cheese.

Lekue Cheese Maker

The Lekue Cheese Maker usually costs £19.90, however it is currently on sale at £15.92 at the Lekue online store.  While it’s not essential for making the soft cheese, it certainly makes it a lot easier. 

Lekue Soft Cheese
A simple soft cheese made with milk, it's a little bit of alchemy!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 litre milk
  2. 2tbsp lemon juice or 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vinegar
  3. OR
  4. 750 ml milk
  5. 375 g natural yogurt
Instructions
  1. To make the cheese there are two options, the first is to add lemon or vinegar to the milk, the other is to add natural yogurt.
  2. Heat the mixture in the microwave 12-14 minutes at 800W (90C/194F) and the milk separates.
  3. Leave the mixture to cool for 30 minutes then add salt or sugar to taste and pour into the strainer letting the whey drain away.
  4. Put the strainer back into the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour, then you can turn the cheese out onto a plate.
Farmersgirl Kitchen https://www.farmersgirlkitchen.co.uk/
  Cracker with homemade soft cheese and herbs

Cheese making is not the only alchemy in my kitchen, I’ve also been using my Optimum  P200 Dehydrator to dehydrate tomatoes and make ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes in olive oil.

Dehydrating Tomatoes

Making the ‘sun’ dried tomatoes in the dehydrator is really easy.  This is the time of year when you can get really good ripe tomatoes more cheaply and we were really impressed by the concentrated tomato flavour.  

I sliced the tomatoes so they would dry more quickly, but if you are prepared to wait you can dehydrate quarters or halves, or little grape tomatoes.  Timing is variable depending on the tomatoes,  I ran my dehydrator for 12 hours at 57C.  I then packed the dried tomatoes into a jar with some whole peeled cloves of garlic and fresh basil leaves and filled the jar with oil.  

Soft Cheese and Sundried Tomato Bruschetta

I left the jar for about two weeks before opening and the result is totally delicious. The oil takes on the tomato, garlic and basil flavour making it ideal to brush onto olive bread then toast to make the bruschetta base.  

Then I simply topped the bread with cubes of homemade soft cheese, the slices of dried tomatoes, a little fresh basil and then drizzled it all with more of the oil from the jar, it was just gorgeous.

UPDATE

Note and Disclaimer (viz a viz Clostridium Botulinum)

It’s vital when you cure vegetables in olive oil that you thoroughly clean the jar itself as well as all the ingredients and utensils used in the preparation. My friend  at Christina’s Cucina tells me her family have  been curing and pickling vegetables for many years without any health issues.  However, many food safety authorities advise against preserving tomatoes and garlic in oil due the risk of bacterial contamination and proliferation of spores, especially clostridium botulinum, which could be fatal.

I will still be making small quantities but eating within a few days.

Herb and flower dehydrating

My Optimum P200 Dehydrator has been put to  good use recently, with rose petals and herbs from my garden filling the trays.  Again the time for dehydration varies, the rose petals took around 6 hours, the rosemary which has quite a fleshy leaf took around 14 hours. 

Bruschetta with homemade cheese and sun dried tomatoes in olive oil

Disclosure: Froothie UK sent me the Optimum P200 Dehyrator to use and review at home. I have not been paid for this post and was not required to give the Optimum P200 Dehydrator a positive write up.  All opinions are my own.  Affiliate links included in this post and if you buy the dehydrator via the link I will receive a small payment, but the product will not cost you any more.

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Laura BoccauwM MChocletteKeep Calm and Fanny OnDannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy Recent comment authors

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Karen
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YES! I love the word alchemy and often use it when I make jam – that moment when soft fruit melds with sugar to become a jammy, pan of deliciousness! I received my cheese maker last week, so this post will provide me with lots of lovely tips and ideas!
I only wish I had a dehydrator too, but maybe I may treat myself to one this Christmas!
I LOVE the look of all the recipes in this post, all very summery!
Karen

Christina | Christina's Cucina
Guest

Homemade cheese is one of the best things EVER! I feel sorry for those who have never had the pleasure of tasting it! My mother made it all the time when I was growing up, and I loved the ricotta that came out afterwards AND the whey at the end! I hope this entices people to try making cheese themselves, it is very easy!

Emma @ Supper in the suburbs
Guest

I am so impressed with this. Is there anything more satisfying than making tasty food from scratch. Love that you’ve made your own soft cheese and the tomatoes for thus bruschetta! I need to invite mine round to yours for lunch clearly :-p

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours
Guest

I love making cheese, it is always so delicious and it is so satisfying. The LeKue mould looks as if it makes the entire process far easier, you can use a cheese cloth but it is so fiddly.

Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
Guest

I honestly didn’t think that it would be this easy to make my own cheese, but I definitely need to give it a try, as we are cheese obsessed.

Keep Calm and Fanny On
Guest

I’ve seen this kit in stores and swineherd, think I’ll go back and give it a whirl. I’ve made cheese before and loved it, just wish we could get our hands on some really decent milk to make it! Thanks…

Choclette
Guest

Oh I don’t know where to start with this post Janice. I love it. I haven’t made cheese for ages, mostly because it’s a bit fiddly, so I’m very envious of the Lekue mould – what a brilliant idea. It also turns it out into something a bit more attractive than what you get from a cheese cloth. The tomatoes sound fab too and the whole bruschetta thing sounds too delicious for words. Great post.

M M
Guest
M M

re those yummy tomatoes in olive oil, how long would in the fridge?

M M
Guest
M M

thank you

Laura Boccauw
Guest

I bought the cheese maker today and used 1 litre fresh milk, heated this for 14 minutes in the microwave, added the lemonjuice and let it cool down for 30 minutes… However there was no cheese left. It was all hond with the whey in the sink… Would it help if i added the lemonjuice before microwaving? Thanks

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