Home Made Basket Cheese
Fresh basket cheese for your Easter Pizzagaina - Pizza Rustica.
For 2 Batch(es)
For the Cheese:
- 1 gallon whole milk works very good. Farm Fresh milk (raw milk) works the best
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 3 Rennet tablets (Junket brand is what I used)
- 1/4 cup water
Nonna's Cheese Grater
Get one in La Bottega!
- Place milk in to a stainless steel or an enamel 5 quart pot and add salt.
- Dissolve Rennet tablets into water.
- Heat milk to lukewarm ( 85F to 90F degrees). Turn off heat. DO NOT LET MILK BOIL.
- Stir Rennet water into the warm milk.
- Let milk stand for 40 to 45 minutes.
- After 40-45 min you should have a thick layer of curd.
- Cut curd into small pieces using a sharp knife.
- Drain the whey without mixing up the curds. I place a cheese basket in the middle of the pan and scoop out the as much whey a possible.
- Place a cheese basket into a large bowl and using a slotted spoon scoop out the curds into the cheese basket. You can overfill the basket a little since it will settle as the water drains.
- Place an empty basket upside down in a bowl and then place the filled basket on top and let drain.
- If you don't have an extra basket place a cup or small dish upside down in place of a basket.
- After an hour or two or when the cheese is firm take it out of the basket and flip it and place it back into the basket. Cover and let drain overnight.
- The longer it drains the firmer the cheese will get.
- Once the cheese is firm, place it into a dish, cut it wedges and put a little salt if you want. The amount of salt really is to your taste.
- If you are not going to use it right away, wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- One tip is if you use fresh milk from the farm that is not homogenized.(Raw Milk) the best. Save one cup of the milk and save the whey so you could make ricotta cheese later.
- You could line the baskets with cheese cloth prior to putting in the curds so you could squeeze the water from the curds this will help drain and firm up the cheese quicker.