Yesterday, I decided to make another batch of cheese curd…but while I was in the kitchen, why not make a couple loaves of white bread and some butter too.
Stirring ocassionally and over the lowest possible heat, I added the thermometer and waited. While waiting, I need to thaw the starter.
Since we make a larger batch and then freeze the starter into cubes using an ice cube tray, you need to get those cubes thawed out prior to adding it into the milk.
I used a food processor and chopped the cubes, much like shaved ice, and set the measuring cup on the already warm stove that is heating up to bake the bread.
Since I need to allow the milk to slowly heat up, it’s time for me to start the bread. You add shortening (I use butter flavored), sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. You then need to add hot water and hot milk to the mixture.
Once it is all combined, you need to allow the temperature to cool to lukewarm.
While the bread base is cooling, it’s time to check the temperature on your pot of milk. Hmm, the temperature is just above 80.
Time to empty the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry, and let the dogs out.
Checking the “heat” of your milk and bread base between each task.
Now that your bread base is cool enough. Mix 1/4 cup warm water with your package of yeast in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
While the yeast is “curing”, I measure out the six cups of flour I am going to need.
Now add your yeast to your bread base.
I usually switch the beater on the mixer at this point to a dough hook. In less than five minutes, you are going to need to anyway.
Now it’s time to add in about three cups of the flour. Continue to mix until everything is well blended.
Since the flour tends to build up on the outside of the bowl, make sure to stop once or twice to scrap the flour back into the forming dough.
You dough will look something like this.
Now kneed for a minute or so. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting, it’s time to check the pot of milk for cheese.
The milk is now the correct temperature to add the starter. Remember that stuff we have setting in the middle of the stove thawing….we need to add it now.
Once you have added the starter, mix well and then cover. Leave it set for 45 minutes. With your oven on, it should hold the milk at the proper temperature of 90 Degrees.
Yup, just like that right there. One recommendation…use a slightly larger pot. This created a vacuum seal for the lid….not recommended!
Now that you still have a couple of minutes on the clock to do the next step of your bread, why not clean up those mixing utensils.
Then, use butter to grease up a large mixing bowl. I prefer to use stainless but glass or plastic will work too.
Now it’s time to work in the last of the flour required. At this point, I like to sprinkle it on top of the dough ball and then kneed it in until the dough is like soft rubber, aka chewed gum.
Make sure to not use too much flour, it will make your bread come out too dry.
Now throw that ball into the greased bowl, move over next to the stove (which is warm remember) and leave until it doubles in size.
I cover it with a dish towel while it sets.
Now that the bread is raising, the milk is curing….It’s time for a 10 minute coffee break!
Now that I am all relaxed now after kneeding the dough…it’s time to mix the rennet and water to go into your cured milk.
Top stirring the rennet dilution into the milk takes a couple of minutes, but once you are finished, recover and let sit for another 45 minutes.
Make sure that your milk stays at 90 Degrees.
About this time, your bread ball should be raised enough to punch down, form into two balls and lay into bread pans.
Please note the discoloration of the towel…Make sure that you do NOT place the towel close to any type of flame!
Leave bread to continue to raise.
Now you have about 1/2 hour to vacuum the floor and maybe fold the laundry.
After waiting for the curd to form and then cutting the curd into small pieces, it is time to cook the curd.
I cook the curd, stirring often so that the curds do not matt on the bottom of the pot for about an hour.
After cutting the curd and stirring a couple of times, the bread is ready to go into the oven. 425 Degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 Degrees for an additional 30 minutes.
I usually take this time to make butter from the cream skimmed off the top of the milk for cheese.
I will go into this adventure for another post.
Remove the bread from the oven at the end of the time, remembering that you still have another 15 minutes on your curds.
Remove bread from tins and allow to cool slightly. Cut off end and serve with Butter.
Now it’s time to drain the curd. This usually takes about a half hour or so. I tie the bag of muslin or cheesecloth filled with the curds onto a kitchen cabinet.
Once the curds have drained, I add salt and maybe some spices for flavoring. Personally I like to use a spicy pepper mixture that consists of crushed red peppers, cayenne powder and a little garlic. Into a plastic bag they go to cure for a minimum of 24 hours.
After this, I started dinner (Corn and Bacon Chowder) and then do nightly farm chores.
If anyone would like the recipes with exact measurements, leave a comment and I will share the details.