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FarmSteady's Beer Cheese

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
aka The Gipper

Joined: 10 June 2003
Location: Chinook Montana
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Points: 14741
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    Posted: 07 February 2018 at 14:06

FarmSteady's Beer Cheese

Recently, I made a Beer Mustard to go with some home-made pretzels that I planned to bake; you can read about that mustard here:

I also made another condiment in anticipation of my pretzels: a dipping cheese based on home-made cream cheese with reduced beer added. It is the Beer Cheese that I will discuss here.

The mustard, cheese dip and the pretzels themselves are all part of a kit that is available from FarmSteady; here is their home page:

And here is the page dealing specifically with the pretzel and cheese kit:

A slight clarification to my statement above: the beer mustard is a recipe that can be found on their website, but does not come with the kit itself. If you click my link above, you can see the recipe and method, with step-by-step photos.

The folks at FarmSteady are a pretty good resource for several DIY food, gardening and foraging projects, and I invite you to take a look at what they have to offer. The kits that I have done so far have taught me a lot, and I'll be able to use that knowledge (as well as the equipment in many of the kits) over and over in the future. Beyond that, I enjoy the new projects that they post about on social media, and have found their ideas and photos to be inspirational.

To begin the Beer Cheese, I followed the instructions provided by FarmSteady; I'll post them here, for the sake of convenience:

Quote How to Make Beer Cheese

What You Need

Soft Pretzel & Beer Cheese Making Kit [in this case, the Rennet and Cheesecloth that come with the kit]

Additional Equipment

Double Boiler (Or a small pot sitting in a larger pot to create a water bath)
Kitchen Thermometer
Rubber Spatula

Additional Ingredients

2 Quarts (2 L) Whole Milk (Avoid ultra-pasteurized)
1/2 Cup (118mL) Plain Yogurt (With live cultures)
1/4 Cup (59mL) Non-Chlorinated Water (Bottled water or tap water left out overnight)
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
12 Ounces (350 mL) Beer
[Optional - 1 quart of heavy cream (see below)*[

Prepare a water bath in a double boiler or two different sized pots so that a smaller pot fits into a larger pot. Heat water bath until it reaches 100° F (38° C). Turn off burner, the water bath will be enough to heat your milk in the next step.

When your water bath is at temperature, add milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until milk reaches 90° F (32° C), about 20 minutes. Remove from water bath if milk gets too hot.

In a small bowl, add 1/2 rennet tablet and 1/4 cup (59 ml) non-chlorinated water, stir to dissolve and set aside.

Once milk reaches temperature, remove from water bath, add yogurt and gently stir (both in a side to side and up and down motion to incorporate) about 30 seconds.

Add dissolved rennet solution to milk. Gently stir (both in a side to side and up and down motion to incorporate) about 30 seconds.

Cover pot and let sit undisturbed for 12 hours. Milk will form into a solid mass floating in clear whey.

After 12 hours. Assemble a strainer over a bowl. Line strainer with dampened cheese cloth. Strain curds.

When most of the whey has drained out (about 2-3 minutes) form a draining sack out of the cheese cloth by tying the four corners of the cloth together (two opposite corners at a time). Hang the curd-filled draining sack from your kitchen faucet, or use a spoon suspended across a pot or large bowl. Drain for 6 hours or up to overnight.

In a medium pot, over medium-low heat, bring beer to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally,  until beer reduced to 1/2 cup (118 ml) about 20 minutes. Chill in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (and up to overnight).

In a bowl, scoop curds from draining sack and add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, stir to incorporate. Fold in reduced beer.

Note: If you're a fan of heat, you can also stir in a diced jalapeņo for a spicy beer-filled kick.

Cover and chill for 1 - 2 hours to firm before eating. Beer cheese will keep refrigerated for 1 - 2 weeks. Enjoy!

*Note from Ron: the recipe card that comes with the kit has identical ingredients and instructions, except that a quart of heavy cream is also a part of the recipe for the cream cheese, an ingredient that is not found on the website instructions. Worthy of note is that the quart of cream is also part of the recipe for "plain" cream cheese. When I made the Beer Cheese, I did not use the quart of cream, but I see no real difference between using it or not using it, other than perhaps a slightly higher yield of finished product. My conclusion, as far as I can tell, is that the addition of a quart of cream is optional with this recipe.

The beginning stages of the Beer Cheese are identical to the steps for making cream cheese; this is covered fairly well by a previous pictorial, which you can find here:

The only difference, as noted above, is that the quart of milk used in the cream cheese is apparetnly optional when making this Beer Cheese.

With that in mind, let us begin here with our freshly-made cream cheese:

This turned out at least as well as the first time I made it; possibly a bit better, because I learned in my research for this that rennet tablets should be used within half an hour after they are dissolved in water. In any case, it is an easy process that yields tasty results; however, I was about to make those results even better!

While the cream cheese was drying in the cheesecloth, I simmered a 12-ounce bottle of beer on the stovetop over medium-low heat so that it could reduce down to 1/2 cup. The beer that I used was the same beer used for my Beer Mustard, a dark hefeweizen brewed in Montana by Bayern Brewing Company called Dragon's Breath:

Any beer can be sued, of course - that's where the fun comes in!

Once the beer was reduced, I allowed it to cool in the refrigerator; then, when the cream cheese was ready, I added a teaspoon of salt as instructed and the beer:

I then carefully folded and stirred the beer into the cream cheese and poured the resulting mixture into two containers:

That's all there is to it!

I tasted the Beer Cheese then and there, and was pretty impressed with it. Tangy, savory, with a good hit of maltiness from the beer, balanced well by the floral hops. It was unique and very good.

I put the Beer Cheese in the refrigerator overnight, then served with my freshly-baked pretzels the next day. The verdict: Excellent! the dipping cheese went perfectly with the pretzels, and was a real hit with everyone who tried it.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this, and please feel free to post any questions, comments, or other feedback. If you already have the ingredients and equipment to make this cheese, it's definitely worth a try; if you don't have it all and want to try it, consider purchasing one of FarmSteady's kits - there are a lot of worse things to spend your money on! Either way, I am quite sure that if you try this, you will be very happy with it. Please post about it, if you do.


TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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