Thursday, May 24, 2012

Curds and Whey

Little Miss Muffet 

Sat on a tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey;

I remember the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet from when I was a kid. My mom used to recite it to me while she bounced me on her leg and I always got so confused by the words. Who is Miss Muffet and what is a tuffet? And what are curds and whey? 

Curds and Whey is similar to cottage cheese. In fact cottage cheese IS curds and whey. Curds are the little globs of fat that form when milk begins to curdle and whey is what is left over after the curds are strained. In the case of cottage cheese some of the whey remains but is washed to remove the acidity. Making curds and whey isn't hard and I decided to try my hand at it late last night.
paneer, curds, whey, cheese, DIY
Click here for the instructions I kinda followed...

I started with 1 cup of milk even though the recipe called for two. I figured if I failed in my attempt I would waste less milk that way. I brought the milk to a boil in a pan on my stove, turned off the burner (leave the pan on the heating element after turning it off) and added 5 tsp of Balsamic Vinegar (it's all I could find in my messy pantry) and 2 tsp of garlic powder. I stirred the nasty looking liquid until it was mixed well and then let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool. 

After sitting for 10 minutes I strained the chunky liquid through several layers of cheese cloth. To do this I lined a colander with the cheese cloth and put a large bowl under the colander to catch the liquid that drained off (whey). It worked great and left me with a nice handful of curds that I then added a pinch of salt to and twisted tight to get the excess moisture out. I hung this curd ball in my fridge over the whey bowl over night and this morning I woke up to a beautiful ball of very balsamic smelling cheese. For lunch today I plan to fry this up (I believe it is called Paneer) with whatever I can find in my fridge. I also plan to try this again with a white vinegar to see how that effects the outcome.

I saved my whey of course as I have heard that it makes good bread. I've been making my own bread at home for almost a year now ($0.45 per loaf compared to $2-3 at the grocery store) and I am always looking for new recipes. If the bread and the paneer both turn out edible I know I will be repeating this process a lot. It's very quick and simple and would cut my grocery costs down even further. 
Now on to slice, dice, and fry some paneer! And as for Miss Muffet...

Along came a spider,

Who sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away. 

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