March 5, 2009, 1:36 am
Filed under: Fermentation, Food

Last week, I was feeling discouraged by the state of the uneaten viili in its jar in the fridge and decided to try to make cheese out of it.  We’ve made “farmer’s cheese” or cream cheese– a simple, soft, spreadable cheese– out of soured and clabbered milk before, and I followed that model.  I poured the viili into a cotton napkin over a jar and let the whey run through, leaving the viscous solids behind.  This took a while, and I transferred it to the fridge after a bit.  Normally, what runs out into the jar is just translucent whey.  In this case, there was quite a bit of more opaque, white viili that ran through, too, and I let it, squeezing the napkin every once in a while to make sure that all that was left behind was what was really solid.  When it was quite dry, I transferred it to a bowl and mixed in salt, pepper and herbes de provence.

I accidentally made it a little too salty, but otherwise, it’s quite nice, with a very nice, silky texture and mouthfeel.

Encouraged by that success, and having started a new batch of viili to replace the old (I’d reserved some as a starter), yesterday I went looking for something to make more cheese out of.  I knew I’d be picking up dairy from Pennsylvania today, so I needed to clean out the fridge and make a bit of room anyway, and the last batch of PA milk was too sour to enjoy on its own, so I took that out and let it finish separating on the counter, then did the same thing, letting it drip overnight in the fridge before mixing the solids with the same herb blend this afternoon.  Since I started with more milk than I had viili, there was more whey and more solids.  Believe it or not, I added a little too much salt again, but other than that, it’s good again, without quite the same texture but otherwise similar.  It’s interesting to me that there isn’t more difference, actually.

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