Fermentation

Making Cheese: 2 Pounds of Gouda from 2 Gallons of Milk

I met Sean while square lashing a bamboo shelter at a Georgia Bushcraft campout a few years back. His engineer mind coupled with grunt work from the rest of us created a semi-permanent base camp shelter for our large group campouts and classes. The shelter seems to expand with every campout.

Besides the “manly” bushcraft skills he owns, Sean develops what some call “soft skills.” Below is his first attempt at a delicious soft skill, making his own gouda cheese.

He graciously allowed me to republish a portion of his article since we are all about Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance here. Enjoy!

Making Cheese- 2 Pounds of Gouda from 2 Gallons of Milk - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

by Sean Begley

This article describes my first attempt at making cheese. I picked up a copy of Cheesemaking Made Easy: 60 Delicious Varieties from the local library for instruction. Most (all?) of the recipes start with 2 gallons of whole milk and end up creating 2 lbs of cheese. The shopping lists and instructions below are for creating 2 lbs of Gouda from 2 gallons of supermarket whole milk.

Before you Start Gathering Material

  • The author points out, specifically, that aluminum cookware should not be used as it can impart a taste to the cheese.
  • A good thermometer is very important. The cheese making process appears to be sensitive to temperature.
  • Use a glass bowl for the brining process. I had a couple of spots of oxidation form in my stainless steel bowl.

Hardware List

  • 12qt stainless steel pot
  • stainless steel ladle
  • stainless steel curd knife
    • I bought a 14″ but a 12″ would be fine for a 12qt pot
    • Also sold as an “icing spatula”
    • Amazon.com link
  • stainless steel food thermometer
  • glass bowl
    • used for brining
    • should be able to hold 1 gallon of liquid
  • cheese cloth
    • I don’t think the grade really matters too much for this recipe.
  • cheese press
    • You can build one of these for pretty cheap
    • I’ll talk about it below.
  • cheese drying board
    • Can be made pretty easily.
    • Discussed with the cheese press.
  • (optional) 10 gallon pot for steam sanitizing your cheese press
  • (optional) propane patio stove for the 10 gallon pot

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons of whole (vitamin D) milk
  • 1.25 lbs of course salt
  • water
  • cheese rennet tablets
    • do NOT use junket rennet tables as they sell to make ice cream
    • can use rennet liquid instead
    • can be bought off Amazon.com
  • mesophilic cheese starter culture
  • Vinegar
  • Sanitizer

The Cheese Press

It is necessary to use some kind of cheese press to press excess liquid (whey) out of our cheese. The book referenced several types of presses including 1 that is pretty simple to make at home. I opted to build a version of the home cheese press and you can see the results below. If you build a similar press, the book states that well seasoned hardwoods are ideal materials and specifically calls out birch and maple. I made my press and cheese board out of birch plywood from the hardware store.

Making Cheese: 2 Pounds of Gouda from 2 Gallons of Milk - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Sean’s DiY cheese press

Read the rest of the instructions here

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Fermentation, Homesteading, Real Food, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Making Yogurt: Experiments 1-4

I’ve written before on the health benefits of probiotics in fermented foods like my Down and Dirty Sauerkraut. Daisy Luther offers her trials and tribulations on her way to success in her DiY yogurt process.

by Daisy Luther

Yogurt making gear

I was absolutely determined to make yogurt.  Real, yummy delicious yogurt, the nice thick kind that can stand on its own in a dish, supporting a big spoon full of fruit.

Yogurt has so many good things going for it!  I eat it almost daily and contribute my resistance to stomach viruses and my greatly improved acid-reflux to the habit.  You can read more about the benefits and some tasty ways to use it in my “Ode to Yogurt”.

Attempts #1 and #2

Attempts 1 and 2 were made simultaneously.  The only difference between the two was that #1 was made from pasteurized milk from the dairy and #2 was made from reconstituted powdered milk.

Live yogurt for starter

I used the “thermos” method, found in detail HERE.

Basically, the thermos method is as follows.

  1. Heat 1 cup of milk to 165-185 degrees F (use a candy thermometer – or, wait until you are starting to see some bubbles rising but the milk is not yet boiling).
  2. Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to drop to 105-110 degrees F.
  3. Gently stir in the starter (1 tablespoon of yogurt with live cultures).  You want it to be well-combined but don’t use anything crazy like an immersion blender.  Just a whisk will do.
  4. Immediately place the mixture into a thermos that has been warmed with hot water and put the lid on.
  5. Keep the thermos cozily wrapped in towels overnight (8-24 hours).

You should get up to delicious, rich, thick yogurt.

I, however, did NOT get up to delicious, rich, thick yogurt.  I got up to runny, drink-it-through-a-straw yogurt.  I was seriously bummed.

Regular milk, thermos method

Powdered milk, thermos method

I noticed, however, that the powdered milk yogurt was thicker than the refrigerated milk yogurt.  That got my wheels turning a little.

Attempts #3 and #4

In the face of my early morning disappointment, I decided to try a few different things with the next batches.

I searched up “Why is my thermos yogurt runny?” and found this awesome site, Not Quite Nigella, had some interesting suggestions.

My next two batches were made from a cup and a half of milk from the fridge with 1/3 of powdered milk stirred into it. I was hoping that if the milk was thicker to start with, so too would be my yogurt.

I made another attempt at the thermos method, described above, with half of the mixture.

With the other half, I tried the blog’s “oven method.”

While my milk mixture was heating on the stove top, I turned the oven on to 300 degrees F.

I washed a pint Mason jar and filled it with scalding hot water to keep it warm.

When the milk had been inoculated with the culture, I poured the half that didn’t go into the thermos into the empty, warm jar and placed it on a pan, popped it in the oven, and turned off the heat.  I left it in the warm oven for 5 hours.

Alas, it resulted in runny yogurt.

Oven method, powdered milk mixed with regular milk

I had, at this point, reached my yogurt frustration threshold.  I spoke rather impolitely to the yogurt in the thermos, wrapped snugly in its towel.  I left the thermos on the stove while I baked a batch of cookies.  I turned on the oven a couple of times to keep things warm in the kitchen.  I strongly suspect my other failures are because my house is so chilly, a fact that is really only bothersome when making yogurt or waiting for bread to rise..

I left the thermos of yogurt for 11 hours.  I opened it…and ……SUCCESS!!!!! Happy dance in the kitchen!!!!

Thermos method, powdered milk mixed into regular milk

 

So, the keys to the successful batch of yogurt were…

  • The thermos method
  • Adding 1/3 cup of powdered milk to each 1-1/2 cup of regular milk
  • Warming up the kitchen a few times throughout the day.
Tomorrow I am planning to make a full batch of yogurt. I will let it sit for a solid 12 hours, and  I might try putting the thermos on a heating pad and turning it on intermittently throughout the day. I really want to keep it low-tech because yogurt making is a skill I’d like to be able to accomplish without the grid.
Author bio: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca
Categories: Fermentation, Frugal Preps, Homesteading, Natural Health, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Get Your Gut In Shape: Down and Dirty Sauerkraut

by Todd Walker

Get Your Gut In Shape: Down and Dirty Sauerkraut

I always wipe down the shopping cart handle with the handy sanitizing wipes at the grocery store. I’m doing my part in the war on germs being waged in our society. Anti-bacterial soap, anti-bacterial hand sanitizer are only the tip of our modern microorganism warhead. Pasteurized and irradiated food is a relatively new practice. Sterile is good, right?

Fermented foods have sustained humans for thousands of years. When it comes to our gut flora, exposure to bacteria is a good thing. Fermented foods offer the sterile gut a healthy dose of probiotics to help balance our intestinal flora. In a prolonged emergency, the skill of fermentation will become very useful – even life saving. When the lights go out, a lot of sub 40 degree food will go to waste.

My sauerkraut will last for years if it had to. Around my house, it doesn’t stand a chance lasting a year. If you hate bland, over-processed store-bought kraut, this stuff will make your taste buds and gut flora smile!

Here’s a healthy alternative for storing the abundance of produce from this years growing season…

Make Your Own Down and Dirty Sauerkraut

A.) Gather the Stuff

In this batch, I used one head of white cabbage, one head of red, and about 9 carrots, and some sea salt. You’ll need 2 or 3 wide mouth quart jars with lids. Always use glass to store the kraut to prevent acidic reactions with metal material. I used stainless steel pans to mix the kraut, but only leave it in long enough to mix it. You should really use non-reactive containers in the whole process.

20120505-141024.jpg

 

B.) Shred the Stuff

Shred the cabbage or other vegetables you want to add to your kraut. I use a food processor for a down and dirty (quick) method. Some folks like to slice it with a knife to get the desired length on the kraut. If you’re fortunate, you own a cabbage cutter.

C.) Spread the Stuff

Spread a layer (about an inch or so) into big container. Sprinkle some sea salt over the layer. How much? I don’t know. I don’t make stuff with exact recipes. You may also like to add a tablespoon of caraway seed. I’ve never tried it, but have heard it’s good. Keep adding layers of cabbage and salt until all the veggies are in the container.

20120505-141108.jpg

Food processor with some red cabbage below.

20120505-141136.jpg

20120505-141207.jpg

D.) Squeeze the Stuff

I put all the shredded future kraut into a larger container. You should let the mixture set for about an hour (some recommend 24 hours – but who’s counting) to let the salt begin drawing the moisture out of the veggies. I didn’t wait since I used stainless steel this time. I just started squeezing the juice out. You’ll notice the brine starting to pool at the bottom of your container. Keep squeezing. Some folks call it messaging. I brutalized my kraut for about 20-30 minutes.

20120505-141231.jpg

E.) Pack the Stuff

Once there’s a fair amount of brine in the bottom of your container, start filling the quart jars. I try to leave about an inch of head space. As you fill the jar, you’ll want to use a utensil to pack the kraut layer by layer. I used a big wooden spoon. The micro lovelies like it packed tight for better fermentation.

20120505-141253.jpg

F.) Brine the Stuff

Once filled, make sure the veggies are covered completely with brine. I’ve seen people use a piece of cabbage to cover the kraut with a weight of some kind. I didn’t use that method. I just made sure I had enough brine to cover. Use any left in the big container to pour over the jar contents. If you don’t have enough brine, dissolve a little sea salt in distilled water as your brine. Pour enough to cover.

Cap the jars with lids and screw the rings down loosely so gas can escape. Sit containers on a counter out of direct sunlight. Check the jars every day or so to make sure the brine is still covering the kraut. You may have to press the kraut down on each check up to ensure it stays submerged.

20120505-141315.jpg

G.) Label the Stuff

Label the lid with the date of processing. Put it away and let nature do the rest. I let this batch sit for about a week. I just opened a jar and enjoyed its goodness.

I just found 4 crocks at a yard sale this morning. I paid seven bucks for the whole lot. I plan on using the largest on my next batch of sauerkraut.

Do you make your own sauerkraut? Share your tips and recipe in the comments.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there… 

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Fermentation, Natural Health, Preparedness, Real Food, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , | 52 Comments

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