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Slightly squeaky, it's Finnish cheese.

When you bite into it, this homemade Finnish cheese is mild and creamy-and slightly squeaky. But unlike most cheeses, it's not ready to eat until it's been toasted beneath the broiler; this gives the cheese its distinctive look and taste. Once it's toasted, you can eat it warm or cold, plain or with savory or sweet accompaniments. Squeaky cheese is good with lox, herring, or salad for lunch. Or, in the Finnish manner, try it for breakfast or dessert, baked with a brown-sugar glaze. Making the cheese is an enjoyable day's project. Hands-on time isn't long, but the cheese has to rest for a number of hours during the process; drawings on page 154D show steps involved. To coagulate milk and cream for the first step, you'll need cheese rennet-sold in some feed and fuel stores; or you can mail-order it from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, Box 85, Ashfield, Mass. 01330; (413) 628-3808. A package of 10 tablets costs $6, including shipping. After cutting the coagulated mixture, you slowly beat it to separate curds from whey. Then drain, shape, and compact the curds. Broiling the cheese is the last step. Maintaining a constant temperature is critical. You can beat the milk and cream in a microwave oven, if it has a temperature probe that works in the 90 deg. to 100 deg. range. Or, warm the mixture in a sink of hot water; use a medical, photography, or other thermometer to check heat. Finnish Squeaky Cheese (Kainuun leipdjuusto)
 1/4 rennet tablet
7 1/2 cups whole milk
 1/2 cup whipping cream
 About 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, bring about 1/2 cup water to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat. Discard all but 2 tablespoons. Let cool to 90 deg. or slightly lower; add rennet and crush completely with the back of a spoon. It takes at least 5 minutes for the rennet to dissolve, but it can stand until milk mixture is heated. Place milk and cream in a nonmetal 2 1/2to 3-quart bowl; in a microwave oven, using the temperature probe, heat on full power (100 percent) to 90 deg. (Or place liquids in metal or nonmetal bowl, and set in a sink full of hot water; water level should equal level of liquid in bowl. Stir until milk mixture is 90 deg; add hot water to sink as required.) Thoroughly stir rennet mixture into milk mixture. Insert probe, and program microwave oven to hold liquid at 90 deg until a soft-firm curd is set, about 3 hours. The mixture will feel like soft yogurt when you push a finger into it (step 1). (Or cover bowl and let stand undisturbed in water until curd is set, 3 to 3 1/2 hours; add hot water to sink as needed to maintain mixture at 90 deg.) With a long knife, cut through curd to bottom of bowl to form columns with 1/2inch-square tops on surface (step 2). Next, tilt the knife blade at a 45 deg angle and make diagonal cuts at 1/2-inch intervals to cut through the columns. Repeat from opposite side of bowl. Gently stir with a slotted spoon to check curd size; cut up chunks bigger than 1/2 inch. Using probe, return curds to 90 deg in microwave oven. Then raise temperature of curds by 2 deg and hold it there for 5 minutes, Repeat until curds reach 100 deg. (Or return bowl to sink of hot water and heat curds to 90 deg, stirring gently. Add hot water to slowly raise temperature of curds to 100 deg, stirring gently to avoid breaking up curds. Temperature should not rise more than 2 deg every 5 minutes; to slow, lift bowl out of water.) Hold temperature at 100 deg for 5 minutes. The mixture separates to form white curds and clear whey. Line a colander with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth (each about 20 in. square); let ends hang over rim. Set colander in sink with drain open. Pour curds and whey into colander. Let drain for 10 minutes, then gather edges of cloth and tie with string just above curds. Tie cloth ends together, hook bag onto long faucet over sink, and let drain for I hour (step 3). Meanwhile, prepare the mold: separate rim from an 8- to 9-inch-diameter cake pan with a removable bottom. Snap and discard heads from 4 wooden matches. Evenly space matchsticks horizontally around the inside of rim's bottom lip; tape in place. Set pan bottom on matches in rim (the matches elevate the bottom so that liquid from cheese can drain). Set pan in a larger rimmed pan. Set cloth-wrapped curds in prepared cake pan mold. Open up cloth, scrape curds to center, and thoroughly mix in salt to taste. Smooth cloth neatly against pan side and bottom, draping edges over rim. Pat curds in an even layer to pan edge. Neatly fold cloth over cheese to cover. Set a matching-size cake pan on top of cheese; fill top pan with 1-pound cans (step 4). Chill until whey stops dripping. Cheek occasionally and pour off whey; let drain at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Remove cans and top pan. Lift cheese mold from larger pan. Drain and rinse larger pan. Holding edges of cloth, gently lift cheese from mold and lay flat; fold cloth back to expose cheese. Lay removable bottom of cake pan on top of cheese. Supporting cheese with cloth, flip cheese over onto pan bottom; pull cloth free. Set cheese, on pan bottom, back in pan rim, then set in the larger rimmed pan. Broil cheese 2 to 3 inches below heat until speckled brown, 5 to 10 minutes (step 5). Remove pan rim. Slide a long, thin spatula under cheese to loosen, then ease cheese onto a plate. Serve wedges warm or cool. Or let whole cheese cool completely, cover, and chill up to I week. Makes about 12 ounces. Per ounce: 89 cal.; 4.2 g protein; 1. 5 g carbo.; 7.6 g fat, 32 mg chol.; 95 mg sodium. Sugar-glazed Finnish Squeaky Cheese Prepare Finnish squeaky cheese (recipe precedes). Place warm or chilled cheese in an 8- to 9-inch-diameter baking dish. Drizzle I tablespoon whipping cream over cheese and sprinkle evenly with 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar. Bake in a 400' oven until sugar melts, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve wedges of cheese with 1/2 cup each raspberries and blueberries (or use all of I kind of berry). Serves 6. Per serving: 224 cal.; 8.8 g protein; 13 g carbo.; 16 g fat,- 68 mg chol.; 193 mg sodium. El
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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