I made butter today, lots of it, because my refrigerator was too full and was getting warm. With the skim milk I wanted to try a new recipe for feta cheese. The raw milk that I skim the cream off for butter is still so rich, I bet it has as much fat in it as whole milk from the grocery store. I probably would not try and make feta with skim milk from a cream separator though, as that really would be too skim for feta
First you heat the milk very slowly to 86 degrees f, over a period of about thirty minutes.
This is six gallons of raw, skim milk. Stir often so the milk does not scorch or get too warm in places.
When the milk has reached 86 degrees, I poured in 4 cups of strong kefir. I use kefir because I always have lots of it and it is full of many wonderful cultures and will acidify the milk. You may use cheese cultures, or cultured buttermilk instead. Stir well and let rest for about ten minutes at 86 degrees. After ten minutes I added 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of liquid rennet, diluted first in a cup of cool water. Never add rennet to warm water, or directly drop it in the milk. Pour the cup of water with the rennet in it and stir gently and well. Turn off the burner, and the milk should remain at 86 degrees until set.
It took less than an hour for the milk to set, and you can tell when it has set by seeing the whey at the sides of the pan and when you stick your finger in the milk and pull up, you get a clean break. Now it is time to cut the curds into one inch cubes. It is easiest to begin in the middle, using a long knife that will reach all the way to the bottom of the pan.
Cut across and turn the pan and cut again, then using the knife at a slant, cut the curds below the surface so everything is cut into about 1 inch cubes.
To keep the temperature at 86 degrees, you can place the pan in a sink with warm water.
Stir the curds gently with a slotted spoon, breaking or cutting up any large curds and making sure they do not stick together. Stir gently every five minutes, over a period of twenty minutes.
Line a colander with muslin cheesecloth and strain out the curds from the whey and place in the colander.
Gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist to remove some of the whey, then tie up the cheesecloth and hang curds for the whey to drip out for 10 to 12 hours.