(Or: the other white stuff)
MILK! One day, when our calves are cows, and have had calves of their own and we’ve eaten them* we will have alot of milk. So we have been experimenting with all the weird and wonderful things you can make out of milk!
*(by the way, i am totally mortified about this, i said it quite callously but in actual fact the thought of it horrifies me. If it was possible to be a self-sufficient vegan in Norway, i would probably try, but theres just no way. At least our cows are loved and dont have to live in slave conditions, like the cows in factory scale milk production.)
So far we have made sour milk, sour cream, butter (from sour cream), curd cheese, twarog (polish sour white cheese), soft cheese from buttermilk (by accident, i was heating buttermilk to put in the bread dough, and it curdled, so i strained it and there you go!), some generic yellow cheese (which we havent tried yet, fingers crossed for a cheddarish taste), brunost! norwegian brown cheese, (which im addicted to) made from whey, surprim (a very sour brown cheese made from sour whey, left over from making gammelost (old cheese).
How to make cheese at Nordre Stuksrud:
(-3. collect water from stream
-2. light fire in stove
-1. Put big pan of water on to boil)
1. Harness the horse.
2. dig the sled out of the snow, and attach the horse.
3. drive down the track (dont forget a shovel and an axe just in case of snow or fallen tree related hold-ups.)
4. tie horse securely and collect milk
5. when you return, give horse bread, tie the milk cans onto the sled.
6. drive back up the track.
7. put milk in porch, unharness the horse, and give him some more bread. (and some hay. and water. and you might as well feed the rest of the animals while you’re at it)
8. Sterilise equipment in the boiling water. (if not boiling, repeat steps -2)
9. put milk in a pan and heat gently to 38C
10. take milk off the heat and add rennet, stir and leave for 1 hour.
11. cut the curd with a knife, into 2cm cubes.
12. Pour into a cheesecloth
13. hang and leave to drain, overnight.
This recipe is for a simple fresh curd cheese, as seen below.
For a hard cheese, make a cheese press, then follow steps -3 to 12, but add a starter culture at step 9, and at step 12 salt the cheese then press it for several days, turning occasionally. When sufficiently pressed, leave to dry at around 14C for several weeks, then wax it and leave it for about 3 months.
This is what your cheese might look like after pressing:
The leftover whey can be used to make brunost. This is a whey cheese specific to norway, its quite sweet and caramely and absolutely delicious. To make it, just boil the whey and boil it and keep boiling it for between 6 and 12 hours (you can also add some cream) until it is thick and brown and sticky as hell and burning to the bottom of the pan, then cool it down and keep stirring. then press it into a container. go to bed.
If you have never tried brunost you may wonder why one would stay up half the night to stand over a boiling pot of whey, but once you have tried it you will understand. Hopefully. I suggest you try it. Just dont expect it to taste anything like cheese- It’s not cheese. It’s heaven.
Below is my favorite, Gudbrandsdalsost, first created in Gudbrandsdal (this valley!) and a darker version Heidalsost.
The second attempt was much better- dark and tasty but also went solid overnight. But one day i heated it up, added a bit of water and kneaded it, and this time it stayed at a slicing consistency. Success!
The homemade brown cheeses below: (from left) brunost no.1, surprim, and brunost no.2.
The other on-going cheese experiment is Gammelost, another traditional Norwegian cheese. It looks and tastes like mouldy breadcrumbs pressed together. (You may realise this was not MY idea.) BUT its very nutritious, and extremely high in protein, so its good one for self-sufficiency. It is made from sour milk, which we left for two weeks to get really sour and then heated it slowly on a low heat, drain the curd and pressed it a little and brushed it with the special gammelost culture before leaving it to mature. This is what it looked like after a week or so.
Watch this space to find out how it looks after 3 months!
Thanks for reading, more soon!