Flicr photo by: Shagadelicbabe
1 gallon pastuerized skim milk
1/8 teaspoon calcium chloride
1 packet direct set mesophilic starter
Optional: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, cheese salt, herbs, or fruit
Heat the milk to 72 degrees. If using calcium chloride, add it now.
Add the starter and mix throughly. Cover and let stand at 72 degrees for 16-24 hours. The curd will be rather soft.
Cut the curd into 1/4 inch cubes and let stand for 15 minutes.
Increase the heat by one degree per minute until it reaches 100 degrees. Stir gently every few minutes to keep the curds from matting.
Maintain the temperature at 100 degrees for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
Increase the temperature to 112 degrees over a 15 minute period.
Maintain the temperature at 112 degrees for 30 minutes or until the curds are firm. Test for firmness by squeezing a curd btween your thumb and forefinger.
When the curds are sufficiently cooked, let them settle to the bottom of the pot for 5 minutes.
Pour off the whey and pour the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth into a knot.
Let the bag drain for several minutes.
Rinse the bag in a bowl of ice water to cool and place the bag in a colander to drain for 5 minutes.
Untie the bag and place the curds in a bowl. Breal up any pieces that have matted. If desired, add heavy cream to produce a creamier mixture.
Add the salt, herbs or fruit to taste, if desired.