Monday, July 11, 2011

Juustoa Recipe

As I mentioned juustoa is a simple cheese, mild, and slightly sweet from the addition of sugar.  As with many cheeses, it contains salt and of course rennet, but not lactic acid bacteria.  What is unusual is the addition of cornstarch.  About as many recipes call for cornstarch as those that do not.  I use it in my juustoa.  The basic recipe below is taken from the website http://www.food.com/recipe/juusota-finnish-squeaky-cheese-79377 posted by Liisa N on December 21, 2003.  It is nearly identical to several recipes on the web and is a good starting point.  I have made changes to the recipe that help me ensure a good batch.  I've highlighted the changes I've made below in italics and using a gray font.  If you make a full batch, you will need a 10x12 pan for broiling.  If you make a half-batch, then a 9in or 8in cake pan will do.

As you will see, I significantly modified this recipe by adding steps.  You can view the basic recipe by visiting the website above.  I felt that even though I made numerous changes, I still needed to credit the source.

You will need a stainless steel pot that can hold 2 gallons of milk easily, thermometer, collander, cheese cloth, large stainless steel spoon or cake decorating knife, 10x12 pan, measuring spoons, and a separate bowl with a little warm water.

2 gal whole milk (non-homogenized works best)
3 Tblsp sugar
3 Tblsp cornstarch
2 Tblsp salt
1 tsp rennet (I avoid using Junket rennet and buy dried calf's rennet from a cheese making store)
1/4 tsp calcium chloride solution (purchased from the cheesemaking store)

1)  Sterilize all equipment before starting.  You can use a dilute solution of bleach in hot water, but be sure to rinse it with hot clear water after sterilizing to remove any traces of bleach.
2)  Heat the milk to 90 degrees F and hold at this temperature for one hour to ripen the milk.
3)  Add the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Stir to dissolve. (it may help to predissolve these in a bit of cold water and then add it to the milk)
4)  Dissolve the rennet into about 1/2 cup of warm water, and then add to the milk.  Add calcium chloride.  Stir in gently.
5)  Hold at 90 degrees F for at least another 45 minutes as the rennet gels the milk.
6)  After 45 minutes, check for a clean break.  A spoon or knife inserted into the curd should cut it cleanly and whey should separate from the curd at the cut.
7)  Remove from heat.  Cut the curd into X's with a spoon, or the cake decorating knife, unitl you have the consistency of cottage cheese.  Do this gently!  You want the appearance of very large curd cottage cheese.
8)  After cutting, let settle for another 30 minutes until they mat together at the bottom of pot.
9)  Drain off whey.
10)  Line the collander with cheesecloth and transfer the curd into the collander to further drain the excess whey.  Let drain at least 1hr.
11)  Place curd into a 10x12 cake pan, spreading the curd evenly, and broil until brown. Use the low temperature setting on the broiler and place the pan well below the broiler to prevent burning of the top.
12)  Remove from the broiler and cool enough to be able to flip the curd over onto a baking sheet.
13)  Once you flip it over, you may spread with a little butter and lightly salt.
14)  Broil again until brown.
You will notice that as you broil the cheese, more whey comes off and it will look like the cheese is swimming in whey.  Get a baster out and gently remove the excess water.  If you don't, the top may not brown evenly.  Let cool, and enjoy.  It will last in a covered container in the refrigerator for about a week.  The older it gets, the less squeaky it is.

1 comment:

  1. How did this batch of juustua turn out? Have you tried it since? I've been making juustua for 5 years and use the same recipe, but a variation on the process.
    1. I use raw, unpasteurized milk that I buy from a local farmer. That makes the best cheese. Non-homogenized milk works but it makes a fragile curd that breaks easy into rice-sized pieces. I haven't tried with powdered milk but I hear that works good.
    2. I make a 21/2 gallon recipe and use 1/2 cup of sugar so with your recipe I'd use more sugar.
    3. I don't use calcium choloride.
    4. I use dry, vegetable rennet - one tab dissolved in 1/2 cup of cool (non-chlorinated) water. This means that where I live I use bottled water. I think chlorine gives cheese an off taste. It does when I make mozzarella.
    5. I heat the milk to 100-110 degrees. During the heating process I stir in the dry ingredients.
    6. At the desired temp I take from the burner and stir in my rennet. I just leave it on the stove top for about 45 minutes. No heat. I think you could probably get away with 15 minutes in this step. All you are waiting for is a firm set, and this happens quickly.
    7. I use a long bladed knife to make 1 inch rows, then 1" cubes, then cut at angles as best I can.
    8. Here I like to let the whey come to the surface for about 30 minutes.
    9. I don't transfer to a colander. I do with mozzarella and ricotta, but not juustua. I think this would reduce the curds to those tiny rice-sized pieces. You want a big curd for juustua. I pour off about 2/3 of the whey then, with my bare hands, I scoop the curd into 2 9" round cake pans. I may mound up but it becomes level as it bakes.
    10. I broil until brown. I might take it out and drain off some of the whey once or twice during the first side broil.
    11. Then I flip, and brown the other side. Other juustua makers will brown alot on one side, a little on the other, then cover with a shallow layer of retained whey and bake 15-18 minutes.
    12. There ya go. Juustua. I like your blog.

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