Homemade cheese a tempting treat

From the garden to the kitchen, try your hand at cheesemaking and fermenting this fall

Pizza dough can be made with whey instead of water.

Pizza dough can be made with whey instead of water.

As the last sunny days of summer give way to the cooler days of autumn, I look around at what my garden is still offering: some late-season black figs, a handful of cherry tomatoes, wilting basil, and these incredibly large carrots that were somewhat forgotten about. It doesn’t seem all that easy to come up with ‘something good’ for dinner when the garden’s offerings are so meagre, yet the cooler weather begs for time spent in the kitchen. Since I can’t just slap tomatoes, cheese and herbs together as dinner anymore, I focus my black-box challenge on simple techniques, passive cooking and using ingredients fully.

At the height of the summer, the sheer abundance of cherry tomatoes and basil had me venturing into simple cheese-making. Why not make ricotta to go alongside all the garden bounty? Ricotta is only whole milk, salt and lemon juice, and is made in minutes. A harder challenge is figuring out what to do with all the whey — a litre of whole milk yields just under a litre of whey — along with the delicious cheese. Like most things, the answer is pizza. Pizza dough can be made with whey instead of water, and after trying it, I’ll never be using just plain water again. The dough was silky and pliable with an enhanced flavour, and yielded a pleasantly crispy crust. Topped it with the ricotta, as well as some quartered figs, caramelized onions and crispy prosciutto, leftover from some other night’s dinner, yet coming together to make this dinner feel brand-new.

No harder than pizza dough or ricotta is lacto-fermenting vegetables: wild-fermented tangy pickles, from any crunchy vegetable that will fit in a jar. I chose carrots, since my garden (still) has plenty. I wanted to keep the gorgeous colour of the Atomic red and purple carrots, so instead of peeling I just scrubbed the dirt from the skin, lopped the ends off and cut them into spears. After placing the carrots & some peeled whole garlic in a clean jar, I covered them with salted whey until about an inch below the rim then put the lid loosely on the jar. After putting them into a cooler dark place, the hardest part was remembering to open the lid every day to let it off-gas a bit. After 7 or so days, the carrots were deliciously tangy and ready to be kept in the fridge.

 

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm whey

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp white sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp fast rising yeast

3-3 ¼ cup flour

olive oil for bowl

cornmeal for tray

Mix dry ingredients together (except cornmeal). Test whey to be sure not too hot (warm to finger). Add whey and 2 tbsp oil to dry ingredients and stir until blended, until no dry mixture left. (You might have to add a tsp or so water). Transfer to lightly floured board. Knead 5-10 mins until smooth and elastic. *Kneading is the most important part of good pizza dough* Grease large bowl with oil. Smear dough with oil and put in bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place (turning your oven on to 200ºF and turning it off once it’s heated, then placing the bowl in it to rise is a great trick when the weather is cooler) until doubled, about 1 hour. To make thin crust, divide dough in half, roll out each piece (can fit a 9×13 pan). Sprinkle pizza pan with cornmeal, put dough on top. After topping pizza, bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 mins.

 

Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

Saanich police took a suspect into custody after a store employee on Cedar Hill Cross Road was assaulted Wednesday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Employee assaulted at Saanich store after asking suspected shoplifters to leave

June 16 incident saw worker taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read