Lactose-Free Cheese

I made lactose-free cheese!  I actually make this fairly frequently because my lactose intolerance is a new thing for me and I like having cheese on things like baked potatoes and burgers.  This cheese does not melt like cheddar or American.  It acts more like ricotta or feta.  But it’s lactose-free so I can eat it!

I looked at many of the lactose-free or vegan cheeses on the market and most of them are made from soy or nuts, which are on the list of things I cannot eat.  Very disappointing.

When I originally decided to try this, I wasn’t sure what role lactose plays in the making of cheese so I wasn’t even sure this would work.  I decided to experiment with a small carton of Lactaid milk and it turned out really nice.  So now I make a batch every two weeks or so.

Making farmer’s cheese is really easy.  I use 2% Lactaid to keep the fat content down.  I add flavorings depending on what I’m planning on using it for.  This week, I added garlic, chives, and black pepper to 2 quarts of milk in a large saucepan and heat it up to 195 degrees F.  This lets the flavors infuse into the milk as it heats up.  IMG_1090Once it reaches temperature, I turn off the heat and add the juice of one lemon and stir one time.  Then, I just walk away for 15 minutes!  I don’t stir it or poke it or do anything else to it.  It will separate into curds and whey and look really disgusting.  That’s okay. IMG_1094 While I am letting it do its thing, I take a fine mesh strainer and line it with two layers of cheesecloth.  I then place the strainer over the sink and pour the curds and whey mixture into the strainer.  IMG_1095Depending on what I am going to use it for will determine how long I let it strain.  If I’m going to put it on baked potatoes I will leave it rather soft and creamy like ricotta.  If I want it to spread on crackers, I let more of the whey strain out and let it get spreadable.  If I want crumbles for salad, I squeeze all the whey out and crumble the curds!   After I’m done draining the whey out and have the consistency the way I like it, I add salt to taste.  Otherwise, it’s very bland.  Just add a tiny bit at a time until it tastes like you want it to.  It’s a delicious, lactose-free way to have cheese-y deliciousness in my dairy-free life.

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