Homemade Yogurt or Sour Cream and Stinging Nettle Rennet for Cheese Making

Read Gypsy's next article on how to make homemade yogurt and how to set cheese using stinging nettles as a natural rennet. Great for Vegetarians!

Simple things you may not Know

When ever buying dairy products like cultured butter milk, sour cream, and yogurt, you can use your own milk, or even store bought milk, so that you never have to buy these things again. 

All you need to make Homemade Yogurt or Homemade Sour Cream

Make sure that what you buy is active culture. This is the most important thing. If the culture is not active, it will not work.

Have a thermos or a glass quart jar that you can keep at an even temperature. I have a gas oven so I place my jars into that. I also have a Yoga-therm which also works wonderfully. Its just a very large thermos actually.
 
Now, place your quart jars, or what ever you are using, in a warm area along with the milk or cream to be used. This should all be room temp. If it is to cold or to hot it will kill the active cultures.

Now, place a few spoonfuls of yogurt or sour cream or about 1/4 cup of butter milk into your jars and fill with goat or cows milk. You may even use whole milk from the store. Or half and half (or cream) for your sour cream. Wait about a day and poof... you have homemade yogurt and homemade sour cream! You now have more of what you started with.

You may use ice cube trays to freeze your cultures and use later. Just take from the trays and place cubes in freezer bags to store. Then defrost to room temp, before using.

Stinging Nettles as a Natural Rennet for Cheese Making

stinging nettles10 Another little trick is to use stinging nettles to set your cheese. Take a gallon of any kind of milk. Then take some herbs you like, and set them in some hot water, like you were making tea from them. Set that aside.

Only use enough water to cover plus a tad bit more.

Now heat your milk to about 160°F and hold. Add the herbs and maintain the temp of 160°F. Let cool to 80°F add 1 cup cultured butter milk stir and wait a moment, then add a hand full or about 1/2 cup of stinging nettle. Your cheese will set.

Now just cut the curds (use only stainless steel when working with cheese aluminum will kill you) After your curds are cut, keep on the heat at 100°F  a bit more for just a few minutes. Then hang over night in cheese cloth and enjoy.

This also can be made with any kind of milk. This cheese can also be pressed to make a hard cheese. It is a very versatile base that has limitless possibilities. It is soft or hard, spiced or not, it is what ever you want it to be.
                                           
By Gypsy, our resident homestead blogger from One Sky Ranch Gypsy's Wanderings Homestead Blog

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