This morning I unscrewed the cap on the milk jug and took a whiff. A certain sour tang told me it was past its prime. You know what that means.
I learned this trick back when, as a young mother with a husband in graduate school, I signed up faithfully each year for the WIC program. I always appreciated the cheese, juice, and breakfast cereal, but they practically drowned us in milk. My children simply didn't enjoy drinking it. Though I tried to keep up, there was often a jug at the back of the fridge that went a little bit off before we opened it.
So I decided to make it into cheese.
It's totally easy. People used to do this in their own homes for centuries, before they invented Walmart and Costco and things like that.
1. Pour a gallon of milk into a big pot. Add a teaspoon of salt (the salt is optional).
2. Heat the pot on the stove until the milk is not quite boiling.
3. Take the pot off the heat and add a quarter cup of vinegar (you can use rennet if you know where to find it. I sure don't).
4. Stir the pot until the curds separate from the whey.
5. Pour the contents of the pot through a sieve lined with either cheese cloth or a flour sack towel.
6. Put the curds, still wrapped in the cloth and sitting in the sieve, in a larger bowl. Put the bowl in the refrigerator and let the curds drain for a few hours.
Now you have a nice lump of crumbly cheese that makes a great substitute for Ricotta. I'm using it for lasagna tonight.