Also, since I’m all about cheaper but healthier options, I would like to note that the store bought, unhealthy version of this cheese costs about PHP 150. This recipe will only cost you PHP 80.
One of the problems I encountered during Johann’s weaning months (6 months-1year) was finding cheap, organic and sodium-free products; and CHEESE doesn’t usually come sodium free. Apart from the fact that organic cheese is really expensive (PHP 150 for half a cup!) they spoil easily too. I had to find a way and make my own cheese. Good thing the lady at the local market taught me how to make these. But, you know how old people are, they’d give you the instructions and the ingredients without telling you the measurements, so I had to waste about 2 cartons of milk to get this right. haha! Credits to manang for the recipe! Although, she suggested fresh goat or carabao milk, I opted for fresh cow’s milk (you know, the one that comes in carton boxes like Cowhead) that is readily available in any grocery store.
Now, let’s get to cooking, shall we?
- 1 Litre Cow’s Milk (If buying from grocery, make sure the label says PURE FRESH MILK)
- 2-3 tsp salt (for babies 1 yr up and adults only! omit if feeding to babies)
- 3 tbsp. Lemon/calamansi
- 1 tbsp. vinegar
- cheese cloth (you can also use an old white shirt or lampin)
Mix the milk with salt (if using) in a sauce pan. turn on heat to low. The goal is to cook the milk without letting it boil. After 5 minutes, add the lemon juice. Continuous stirring from start to finish is an essential part of the cheese making process, don’t skip it! after another 5 minutes, add the vinegar. You should see frothy milk stains forming on the sides of the pan. This is good since the whey is starting to separate, forming our cheese. Keep stirring the milk for 10 minutes. The consistency should be a little thick, like taho or blended soft tofu. For those using carton fresh milk, the consistency will be much thinner. You won’t even see the cheese until you drain it. Turn off heat. Pour the milk into the cheesecloth and let it drip. If you want a creamier cheese like the one in the picture (cream cheese consistency) let it drip freely. If you want it to be harder (like fetta cheese) that you can cut into cubes, squeeze out the water from the cheese by pressing it with the back of a wooden spoon. This will yield about 3/4 cup of cheese.
Store cheese in container with lid. Natives usually wrap this cheese in banana leaf, but you can do away with any container. For those looking to cut their cheese into cubes, I recommend a box shaped container. Keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
When I make the hard version of this cheese, I cut it into cubes, store it in a mason jar and fill it with olive oil, rosemary and thyme. Instant salad and crackers cheese!