Sunday, March 1, 2009

Quark Wars, Episode Two: Fall Back and Regroup

After retreating briefly to bed and pulling the covers over my head, discouraged by the rain, My Beloved's lack of health, and the miserable failure of my cheese experiments, I bounced back into the kitchen determined to try again.

It seemed that, if the milk didn't curdle much, I must have added too little acid, so I doubled up on the lemon juice in the remaining milk and the result was both immediate and heartening. White islands of curd separated in the blink of an eye from the greenish whey, just as they were supposed to do. Now, to strain them off.

On the first try, I used a very fine kitchen towel, doubled over, and learned why it is that cheese cloth is not a fine weave - it's because fine weaves won't let the whey drain through - it took hours.

This time, I used a single layer of a regular kitchen towel and the whey whisked down into the pot below, leaving a fistful of curds nicely patterned by the weave of the towel. These I dumped into a bowl to begin the seasoning.

The curds are almost tasteless at this point - I suppose the curdling lemon juice goes away in the whey. The flavor I was seeking was similar to the lemon quark I enjoyed from Spring Hill Cheese Company back in the summer. It's very slightly sweet and wonderfully perfumed with lemon and spreadable like hummus.

I added not only some lemon juice for moisture but some very finely grated lemon zest as well, then a pinch of sugar and stirred it together until it was homogenous, then let it stand for an hour or so to meld the flavors. It was delicious. Light and creamish but with a lively lemon punch and a little texture that reminded me of hummus.

I'd make this again in a heartbeat - it's easy once you fall back and regroup!



Blogger namastenancy said...

Leave it to the fighting Irish to never give up! I had to draw the line at making yogurt; what I came up with was so-so. So, I think I'll READ about your adventures and cheer you on from the sidelines.

Sunday, March 01, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I love the idea of adding flavorings, Zoomie. I'm impressed you bounced back and tackled this monster.

Sunday, March 01, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Wow, what next, chedder?

Monday, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, thanks for the cheers but I know you could do this, too.

Cookiecrumb, I was thinking of different flavorings, too - maybe raspberries next time?

Morgan, why not cheddar? :-) I'm feeling my oats!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009  

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