Farmer's cheese and biscuits/crackers

27 August 2013

If you have extra milk in the fridge, or can get some, particularly if it's non-homogenised, or better still, raw milk, this is an easy and quick cheese to make. I used the delicious local Maleny milk. The one I have right now is homogenised, but it still suits my purpose. Both these recipe are quick and easy. The cheese will take you about 30 minutes altogether, but you're only actively working on the cheese for about five minutes. If you have a food processor, the biscuits/crackers will take about ten minutes for the grating, mixing rolling out and cutting. Add another 30 minutes to let the dough rest in the fridge. It's a great snack for the family or when visitors drop by. Served with a cold cordial or ginger beer, it's ideal on a summers day.

The jar is filled with the whey I harvested from the cheese.

Farmer's Cheese - this is a fresh cheese, similar to ricotta 
  • 2 litres/quarts of fresh milk
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt 
  • Lemon juice, about two lemons - you can use ½ cup white vinegar too but I think the taste is better with lemon juice
How to ...
  1. Place the milk and salt into a saucepan over medium heat. When the milk starts forming bubbles around the outside rim, remove it from the heat.
  2. Add the lemon juice and stir. Let it sit for ten minutes.
  3. Line a colander with cheesecloth or loose weave muslin, pour the curdled milk in and let the colander sit over a jug to catch the whey.
  4. Allow it to sit for two hours then gather the cloth around it and squeeze the last of the whey out. Don't throw the whey out, it's wonderful in all kinds of baking. Whey will keep in the fridge in a sterile jar for months.
  5. Store the cheese in the fridge.
Easy Cheese Crackers - this is a modified version of the common recipe for cheese crackers found in many places on the internet.
  • 125 grams grated cheddar cheese
  • 125 grams grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plain/all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
How to ...
  1. Place cheese, butter and flour in the food processor and mix OR rub the butter and cheese into the flour with your fingertips, as you would when making scones. 
  2. Add enough iced water to bring the dough together as a stiff dough - similar to a pastry dough.
  3. Let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out to a thin biscuit and cut with a cookie cutter.
  5. Bake on a baking tray for about 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown. 
  6. Cool on a rack and store in an air-tight jar.
If you want a spicier cracker, you can add chilli powder or paprika to the dough if you like.

The sharp flavour of the biscuits/crackers goes really well with the smooth and creamy cheese. I was going to make up some ginger beer yesterday afternoon too. It's been fermenting for about 10 days on the kitchen bench but I was too tired and put it off another day. It would have been the perfect accompaniment. This is really a delicious snack that contains no added preservatives, or artificial colours or flavours.  I'll write about the ginger beer soon. :- )