Wow, it has been a while since I last wrote anything on the Hey, It’s Paris blog!
Sorry, life is not as exciting post-COVID-19 and I’m sure many people would agree.
Anyway, I remember those amazing years working with embassies in Malaysia. I was pretty close to the Deputy Ambassador of Romania in Malaysia, Madam Camelia Tudose who always invited me to parties at her place. She was also an amazing cook. She always told me that it was so easy to make things like mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese.
Of course, like most Malaysians, I just smiled politely and said that I didn’t think I’d ever had the time. I didn’t even bother checking for the recipes. Besides, we were so used to buying everything at the store.
So, fast forward to today with COVID-19 risks all around us because we know that many, many Malaysians are still hesitant to get vaccinated as they should, I limit myself to buying groceries once a week. Before this, I was okay to go grocery shopping twice a week. This whole once-a-week thing only started when Malaysia hit the 20k-new cases mark. Crazy isn’t it?
That was also the time when I realised that I actually loved being in the kitchen. I have always loved cooking especially for people, but with COVID-19 and we can’t have people over anymore, I’m just stuck to cooking for lil ol’ Ms. Paris!
And then one day, I just decided to check out some recipes and Youtube and praise the Lord, I found cheese-making videos. Only that most of them require rennet. While rennet is considerably affordable, I found myself refusing to purchase them just to try out making one serving of cheese. Then, I found several videos that show how to make cheese using only milk and white vinegar posted by Crave to Cook.
So the key to making a good homemade cheese is raw milk. Now that is one ingredient which is hard to find when you live in Kuala Lumpur. A girlfriend of mine suggested that I buy raw milk from the Vet Department, which I honestly found rather absurd. I doubt many government agencies are working at their offices while we are still under lockdown.
Eventually, I found Tazah Milk, a company based in Sungai Buloh and they’re selling fresh raw milk at only RM6.00 per litre! So, I ordered 4 litres of raw milk and had them delivered to my home. You can also order raw milk from Tazah via their Shopee platform. In fact, you can see my reviews there, LOL!
If you don’t use Shopee, you can also contact Ms. Mira via Whatsapp: 6018-974 8786. That’s one of the things that I like about their services. They reply on Shopee chat and they also send you a text just to be sure. So don’t forget to check them out on Social Media too!
So, my cheese-making adventure begins.
I poured 2 litres of milk into my non-stick pan and turned on the stove under medium heat. Unlike those videos that actually measured the temperature of the milk upon heating, I just made a mental calculation on how long I should heat it. It’s a Malaysian thing we call ‘main agak-agak’, haha! Whatever you do, just don’t let it boil.
Then, I poured about half a cup of white vinegar. That was when I saw the milk start to curdle so nicely, reacting to the acid from the vinegar. But here’s a tip, if you don’t see the milk does not curdle, just add a little bit more vinegar to it.
So here’s how it looks when the milk starts to curdle. You will see the whitish thing solidifying, while the liquid turns yellowish. That’s whey, apparently, yes, the protein-rich supplement many gym-goers consume for faster fat-burning and muscle recovery.
Once the curd is ready, you can strain it using the fine mesh strainer or you can invest in cheesecloth if you plan to make cheese more often in the future. Me? Well, it was my first attempt, so I just grabbed whatever I had in my tiny little kitchen.
Let the excess liquid from the cheese bulk drain for a while. Then, add some salt into the whey so you can dump the cheese bulk back into the whey and flavour it up a little. Oh, by the way, you need to experiment with the amount of salt you put into the whey. I’ve made like 3 batches of cheese now and no matter how many tablespoons I’ve added (3 tablespoons max, so far), once the cheese was ready, it was still not salty enough. Probably I’m so used to the salty cheese taste from store-bought cheese.
Finally, wrap your cheese in plastic and chill it in the fridge. This is my mozzarella cheese!
So, feel free to make your own cheese and entertain yourself while staying at home during this lockdown.