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Author Notes: Freeze and save batches of your milk kefir to create this beautiful Pressed MK Cheese. Milk Kefir can be fermented in the fridge to any degree of mild, tangy or sourness level you prefer before freezing, giving you a wide range of flavor options without other ingredients. Dried spices or herbs may be combined to create unlimited flavoring options. No heating or rennet required. Shreds and slices wonderfully. —Adriana M.
- 4 cups finished milk kefir
- 1/2 teaspoon cheese salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked mixed peppercorns (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar (for buffing finished cheese)
- 1/4 teaspoon honey (optional - for buffing)
- Collect a minimum of 4 cups finished milk kefir. Batches of kefir may be stored in the freezer until you've collected enough.
- Strain MK through several layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or jar to collect the whey. Strain either at room temperature or in the fridge for 12 - 24 hours.
- Mix in cheese salt and any dried flavorings you prefer to the strained MK. I used chili flakes and pepper for a spicy kick.
- Line a small cheese mold with several layers of pre-moistened and well wrung out cheesecloth and fill with kefir mixture. Fold cheesecloth over to cover the kefir and top it with a follower disk. Place on a wire rack over a catch pan.
- Use 15 pds. weight to press MK for 30 minutes.
- Remove from mold. Rinse cheesecloth and wring out well. Replace cheesecloth in mold and replace cheese flipped the opposite side up from first pressing. Add follower and 15 pd. weight for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat the process to flip cheese again, this time adding 35 pds. weight, and press for 24 hours at room temperature or cooler.
- In a ramekin or small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp. white vinegar, 1/2 tsp. cool water, and 1/8 tsp. cheese salt. Remove cheese from press and using a clean dry cheesecloth dipped in vinegar mixture begin buffing the entire surface of the cheese to seal out bacteria. Take extra care in areas with folds or cracks to ensure coverage.
- Place on parchment or cheese paper in a cool room for 24 hours to develop rind.
- Optional - Buff cheese again using honey. Allow to dry in cool room at least 3 hours or until honey is absorbed.
- To store: wrap in cheese or parchment paper and place in a zipped plastic bag in fridge.