Cheese-making 101 – Irish Mike makes Homemade Cheese (Part 2 of 2)

Cheese-making 101 – Irish Mike makes Homemade Cheese (Part 2 of 2)

I did it! I mean I actually made my first cheese! I haven’t been this excited about “cooking” since I learned to make homemade pasta. Wow, what a feeling. Making cheese.

I won’t pontificate like I usually do, I am simply going to tell you how to finish up this simple, Israeli-style cheese.  However, a quick commercial and shout out to my friends Matt and Serah Rudolph, who live in Cyprus, who have adopted two adorable children from Ethiopia, and who introduced me to this great homemade cheese on my recent trip to Cyprus.

After 4 days of letting the moisture seep through your cheese or linen cloth, you peel back said linen and this is what you will find.

Cheese no Moisture

The texture is a little thicker than feta and is a tad crumbly.  Scoop out the “cheese” and then carefully smoosh and roll it into whatever ball size you like, place into a jar, and cover with chosen olive oil. I poured in the beautiful, green, organic olive oil I smuggled back from my trip to Cyprus, added some chili flakes and some fresh rosemary. Layer it, cover it, and place in the fridge until ready to go.

Cheese "balls"

I broke it out today. I grabbed a ball out of the jar, placed onto a whole wheat cracker, smooshed it with the back of my spoon,drizzled a little of the same olive oil, cracked some pepper, and finished with a light pinch of fleur de sol that I recently got from Pike Place Market.

Labneh in Olive Oil

The taste, I must admit, is indescribable…but since I was an English major, I will try and describe anyway. It was magical. Plain and simple, the stuff we make homemade tastes better, bottom line, but this was, well…fantastic. It was better than the best feta you have ever had on a salad or eating table side. The firm and yet creamy taste, coupled with the strong flavor of the olive oil, and that last hint of salt, made my Saturday afternoon lunch something out of a romantic movie. Paired with a glass of Cypriot white wine, I can’t begin to think of a better way to eat lunch on this cloudy and somehow comfortable day.

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