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Easy Curd Cheese Recipes

rufinia posted about the Cooks Guild meeting that made curd cheese from a Roman recipe, which reminded me of a collection of non-SCA-period recipes I'd put together at one point.

#1: Buttermilk Cheese

1 quart cardboard carton of buttermilk

Put the unopened carton of buttermilk in an enamel or stainless steel pot, and add water to at least half-way up the side of the carton. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and leave the unopened carton in the water until the water has cooled back to room temperature. Open carton and pour off whey, keeping the curds. If too wet, the curds can be dried by putting them on top of a few layers of cheesecloth draped over a bowl or pot.

#2: Curd Cheese/Quark (Germany)/Topfen (Austria)

2 quarts milk
2 TB plain yogurt (or 2 TB wine vinegar, or 5 TB lemon juice)

If using yogurt, bring milk just to a boil and let cool to finger temperature (about 100 F). Mix the milk and yogurt in an non-corrosive container and put in a warm place for 4-5 hours to set.
If using vinegar or lemon juice, mix into the milk and bring to a near boil (200 F) in a non-corrosive pot, or a bowl set in a pot of water, then keep in a warm place for 4-5 hours to set.

Put a few layers of cheesecloth in a sieve or colander, and pour the mixture into it to drain. After an hour, put a weighted plate on top to force out more whey. The curds will keep about 1 week refrigerated.

#3: Milk with Buttermilk Ricotta (Curd Cheese)

1 gallon milk (can be skim milk)
1 quart buttermilk

In a non-corrosive pot, mix milk and buttermilk and heat over high heat. Stir occasionally with a rubber spatula making sure to cover the whole bottom of the pot, until the mixture is warm, then stop stirring. Curds will start forming and rising to the top. Use the spatula to keep releasing curds from the bottom of the pot so they won't scorch. At 175 F, the curds and whey will separate more and then remove from heat. Ladle curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander to drain., lifting the cloth to help let the liquid out and/or tying the cloth to hang over the faucet to keep draining. Refrigerate curds and use within one week.

#4: Simple Cheese with Lemon Juice

1 quart milk
juice of two lemons

Heat milk to 100 F being careful not to scorch it, then put in a bowl and mix in the lemon juice. Wait till mixture cools and sets, then drain in cheesecloth.

Some of the flavorings used in SCA-period for any of the curd cheeses would be:
Saffron (add to mixture while heating)
Parsley and sage
Sugar, ginger, and rosewater