My husband Josh loves cheese. But, there's a problem. Cheese doesn't like him. He falls asleep and I can't wake him up when he eats cheese. He usually has digestive discomfort too. After much disappointment for him over the last few years and a lot of research for me recently, I think we have found the problem: microbial rennet.
In simple terms, rennet is what makes milk into cheese. Rennet is usually made from animals. As we've done with everything these days, “we've” messed up what God created and made a substitute. Most cheese in the US is now made using microbial rennet. Microbial rennet is made using mold. By the way, it is usually genetically modified in some way too. If you see just the word “enzymes” in the ingredients for cheese, there's a good chance it's this microbial rennet.
Finally! The answer! It's mold. Mold makes Josh very sick. So, then I began to search for cheese made with true rennet. It's hard to find. If you're looking to buy cheese made with real animal rennet, we found that Trader Joe's cheese is very well labeled. If a product is marketed as being vegan or vegetarian, it is most definitely made with microbial rennet.
Then I started looking for information on how to make my own cheese. I found that one of the easiest cheeses to make is ricotta. It's a very mild cheese and doesn't require any fancy ingredients. True ricotta is made from whey leftover from making cheese like mozzarella, but the following is a recipe for a simple ricotta made from whole milk. It's a little drier than traditional ricotta, but it can still be use in place of ricotta in most recipes.
10 Easy Steps to
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- 1 quart of whole milk
- 1 1/2 Tbs white vinegar
- Kosher (or non-iodized) salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
- Heat the whole milk to 200° in a pot.
- Add white vinegar and stir.
- Bring the temperature back up to 200° if it dropped. You will see white pieces floating in the whey at this point.
- Remove heat, cover it.
- Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Line a colander with fine cheesecloth, butter muslin, or a clean tight woven dish cloth or pillow case.
- Place colander over a bowl or pot. Pour cheese and whey into the cloth covered colander. Be careful! It's hot!
- Tie ends of cloth together and hang to drain over the colander and bowl for about an hour.
- After draining, place in a bowl. Add salt to taste.
- Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.
Don't throw away that leftover whey! It has tons of leftover healthy stuff in it. (Like that technical term?) Use it to cook your pasta.
This would be an easy recipe to get your kids helping in the kitchen. They can measure, pour, and stir; just be careful with the hot milk!
Have you ever made your own cheese? If you try this recipe, please share your thoughts! I'd love to hear how your's turned out!