It only takes one moment to change and swirl views and to clarify answers. One moment. I have been near out of my mind trying to make a decision over the last nine months or so. Should I go back to school? For what? Do I want a career? School is upwards of (an additional from last time) fifty grand. Should I focus on paying off debt instead? Am I meant to be a teacher, anthropologist, or chef? A conversation between Emily, Reed, Doug and I and we were pricing out land. Even though it turns out we will have to wait another one to three years to move forward with that idea, it snapped me into the present. My confusion should have been the key that I was not on the right path pursuing school. My career is homesteading.
You can save a lot of money by homesteading, and you can make money if you choose as well, making it a viable career, particularly for a housewife. There is great serenity to be found slowly stirring a pot of curdling milk and turning it into sharp cheddar. Or sitting before a fire while crocheting a blanket. Carefully pulling tiny weeds among the lettuces. Gathering eggs and throwing scratch. Hanging clothes on the line. Piecing a quilt. The smell of baking bread filling the house. Serving delicious farmstead fresh food to your family and loved ones. Yes, this is the life for me and mine.
If you are like me and are homesteading in a city that does not allow goats, then you will need to find a milk share. I had a choice between goat milk and cow’s milk. Goat’s milk contains identical enzymes to ours so is easier to digest. It tastes delicious to us, but some folks prefer the super creamy cow’s milk. You can use pasteurized milk (not ultra-pasteurized) for making cheese, but I am a raw milk gal myself. Why kill all the nutrients? That seems silly.
For soft cheeses, you will need nothing more than a pot, a thermometer, and cheesecloth. Soft cheese is rather forgiving and you can use lemon juice or specific enzymes for making soft white cheese, like chevre. (You can get these at Cheesemaking.com)
Simply heat a gallon of goat’s milk on the stove slowly until it reaches 86 degrees. Pour in a packet of enzymes for chevre. Let sit for 2 minutes. Stir well and cover for 12 hours. (I forgot to take a picture. I also forgot after 12 hours and it ended up sitting for 24 hours!)
Strain through a cheesecloth, reserving whey. Whey is highly nutritious. I gave some to my old cats and my dog. I reserved some for the cheese to make it the consistency I want. And some can be saved for bread making as well. I use a strainer and clothes line clips to secure. Let sit for 4-8 hours. (Now, I had to go to bed two hours later so I put the whole thing in the fridge so it ended up sitting for 11 hours. See! Very forgiving.)
I only had 1/2 a gallon of milk this time so I used 1/2 packet of enzymes. I will add lots of fresh herbs from the garden to this and make a lovely cheese for homemade pizza tonight.
If you make a lot more than you need you can roll a small log into plastic wrap, then foil, then pile the logs into a gallon bag and freeze.
To go further, purchase a cheese press, mesophilic and thermophilic starters along with rennet (vegetable or animal), and a great book. That will get you started. Cheese making is not as hard as it sounds and you may find yourself coming up with all sorts of delicious creations to serve with a glass of homemade wine!