Introduction: Making Soft Curd Cheese From Powdered Milk
You might have noticed I am a big guy; almost all of my excess padding comes from my love of cheese, meat, and mayo. I don’t eat a lot of sweets, but I will eat cheese by the pound. This led me to begin learning how to make my own cheese, and researching raising livestock for milk production. At this time, we have decided not to raise milk goats due to the small size of our fenced yard, but I still like making cheese. From a TEOTWAWKI or a grid down catastrophic disaster making fresh cheese is still possible even if you don’t have access to fresh milk as long as you have stored some dry powdered milk.
This article documents my first attempt at making cheese in this manner, I have read about it for some time, but finally decided to step up and try it. It is supposed to be pretty easy – It’s basically the same as making ricotta cheese. We will start with a simple curd cheese, which can be used in the place of ricotta in recipes.
In a later article we will also show how to take this recipe and further process it to make a mock Parmesan cheese that you can either use alone or mix with actual Parmesan to make it last longer.
If this interests you, then I recommend you buy the book “Cooking with Home Storage” by Peggy Layton and Vicki Tate, she has many recipes like this, including a similar recipe for making “mock mozzarella” in a similar method that adds hanging the curds in a cheesecloth. I have this book and many others by Mrs. Tate, and believe they are well worth the money.
I do not have any recipes for using dry milk to make hard cheeses, so if you have some please let me know.
As with most things fat makes everything taste better, so if you have whole milk powder your cheese will have a richer taste. Unfortunately, almost all milk stored long term is the non-fat kind as the milk fats cause the powdered milk to go rancid very quickly. As a matter of fact, dry milk from your grocery is either already rancid, or very close to its 6 month shelf life. This is one item that I recommend buying from specialty disaster prep stores. This way the product was packaged in #10 cans immediately after manufacture.
- Large stainless steel stock pot
- Long handled stainless steel spoon
- 3 cups powdered milk
- 6 cups water
- Reconstitute your dried milk, either follow the directions on the milk package or combine 3 cups of powdered milk with 6 cups of cold water in a large stock pot.
- Stir until the milk is totally dissolved in the water.
Heat the milk over medium low heat until it reaches 120 degrees F.
- You need a good cooking thermometer to make cheese, but if you don’t have one yet heat the milk until it is hot to the touch, but not scalding
- Turn off the heat and add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the milk.
Stir and let the milk sit for 10 minutes.
- You should see the curds separate from the whey, if not add an additional 1/4 cup of vinegar and wait another 10 minutes.
- (There are also some neat recipes online for making a very primitive plastic using a very similar method. I find it to be a neat science demonstration for kids, but I find it to be too brittle for any real use)
Place a sheet of cheesecloth in a colander. Pour the curds into the cheesecloth. If desired, set the colander over a large bowl and collect the whey.
Whey is useful for replacing water in many recipes like:
- Soaking grains
- Smoothies and shakes
- Watering your garden
- I find that the dog really likes it (it has a lot of proteins)
- Whey is useful for replacing water in many recipes like:
- Rinse the cheese curds under cold running water and let drain.
- Transfer to a covered container and store in the refrigerator.