I have a recipe I like to use to make lasagna in my head, but I don’t make it very often because everything it takes to make it is hard to find or non existent in Korea except the mozzarella cheese. I have learned to make all the ingredients from scratch. When I make it, I have to make the Italian style tomato sauce, the lasagna noodles, and the cottage cheese I like to use in it all from scratch. I am a bit lazy, so I don’t do it often. Today, I accidentally made something a different way that can be used to make lasagna, homemade cottage cheese.
This is not normally how I make cottage cheese at all. I know it is how Romanians make it because my Romanian friend here in Korea was complaining to me one day that the Koreans put just too many preservatives in their milk because she had put a bottle of milk in her bed for several days, and it never turned to cottage cheese. She is right about the ingredients being different because I used to take yogurt and make cream cheese out of it, but the yogurt I used here didn’t work. I also used to make the yogurt that I used to make the delicious cream cheese I made. Therefore, I thought when the Korean yogurt didn’t make cream cheese, it must be the yogurt I was using, so I decided to back up and start with making yogurt.
I did what I always used to do. I began by collecting several small jars. I put 4 cups (900 grams) of milk in a sauce pan and heated it to a boil. I put my jars in my sink. When the milk came to a boil, I turned it off. I heated water and poured the hot water over my jars and lids. At that point, the milk was a little cooled, so I added three tablespoons of liquid yogurt per cup of milk. I poured the mixture into the jars, and then I put the lids on the jars and wrapped each jar in a towel, and then took one big towel and wrapped it around all of them. I took pictures thinking I would blog about what I was doing, but I deleted all the pictures.
Theoretically, if I left them in a warm place in the kitchen, the next day, I should have had yogurt. I was busy the next day, but when I checked back, there was no yogurt, only milk. I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong, so I checked online. They said that some yogurt can be a yogurt starter, and some can’t. I must have used the wrong yogurt. When I lived in Nigeria, I even made yogurt out of powdered milk. I used the yogurt drink that is sold in Nigeria, and it worked wonderfully! However, I discovered the yogurt drink in Korea will not make yogurt. My daughter said she had seen something called yogurt starter and wants me to try again and use it. I didn’t know there was a special yogurt starter. When I used to make yogurt in Nigeria, whatever yogurt I used worked.
It was late, so I left the jars in the towels and went to bed. This morning, I went to the kitchen to clean it up and throw the spoiled yogurt out. To my surprise, the spoiled yogurt had turned to cottage cheese. My Romanian friend was wrong. The milk in Korea will make cottage cheese the way she makes it. This is not how I usually make cottage cheese at all.
When I make cottage cheese, I usually heat the milk, and then while I am heating it, I add a few drops of vinegar, and it has always worked, even here in Korea. After the milk begins to curdle, I just take the curds and weigh and pour it into a a colander, and all the weigh comes out. I have heard you don’t have to throw the weigh out. It can be used in cooking like to make pancakes or something, but this time, I just let my weigh go down into the drain in the sink. It usually only takes me a few minutes to make cottage cheese, but this time, it took time in a nest of towels like when my Romanian friend left her bottle of milk in the blankets in her bed.
I wasn’t looking for cottage cheese this time, but I got it. I put it in the fridge thinking I should use it in the next few days because part of the work for making lasagna is finished. Maybe I should let my daughter buy some of the yogurt starter she saw and try using it. Making cottage cheese is also how you begin making farmer’s cheese. One day, I may blog about making that. I am trying to bring back all the ways I used to make cheese because I have a friend who is interested in making cheese, and I used to make it quite often because of the lack of cheese in the stores in Nigeria.