Tag Archives: clabber cheese

Traditional Clabber Cheese

This crumbly soft fresh cheese is similar texture to a cottage cheese but higher in fat. It can be pressed in a mould to create a firmer round cheese which can be sliced or which can apparently be aged as white rind cheese like a camembert, but I have not tried this yet.

Ingredients

1 litre Fresh Raw milk (I have used four litres of raw milk in the photos)

1 teaspoon sea salt (or other good salt free from additives such as iodine and anticaking agents)

Method

Put raw milk into a glass jar or non-reactive bowl/pot (or food safe bucket if making a large batch)

Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place to sour and thicken. It should take one to two days depending on temperature, check it every 12 hours or so. Fresh milk may take longer but is better to use as older milk can taste bitter due to the psychotropic bacteria’s which thrive in the cold of the fridge.  Once the milk has become a thick mass (Clabber) and started to separate it is ready to hang.

Line a colander with a cheesecloth and place it in a large bowl. Pour the clabber into the cheesecloth and gather the cloth up around the clabber. Tie off the top and hang from a hook or a wooden spoon over a large pot. Use a fine woven cloth but if you find the clabber is too runny to hang it needs longer to ferment before hanging. The clabber needs to drain its whey for about 24 hours.

Hang the clabber for 24 hours

After 24 hours place the cheesecloth in a bowl, open the cloth and mix the salt into the cheese. The added salt will help to remove any leftover whey.

After 24 hours there is still a bit of moisture in the cheese, the salt will add flavour to the cheese but also draw out more whey.

Hang again for another 4 hours or place in a mould and put a weight on top (glass jar of water etc) to press out any extra whey.

After the second hanging or pressing the cheese is now ready to eat.

The cheese is now ready to eat and will be fine in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Seasonings can be added with the salt, fresh or dried herbs like chives or spices like paprika can give you very different tasty cheeses, perhaps even dried fruit and nuts…

The Fresh cheese turned onto a plate, this cheese is lovely spread on sandwiches, crackers or crumbled over salads.

Mild American Cheddar or Ozarks cheese.

While exploring the topic of clabber cheeses I came across an American school publication from the 1970’s called Bittersweet. In its (now online) pages was this recipe. It was, it turns out, pretty much exactly what I was looking for. A hard cheese which kind of resembled shop bought block cheese that I can grate, and our daughter will actually eat it. While it is rather rich for a straight eating cheese it is good for adding to meals as a grated cheese or on anything that requires cooked cheese like pizza, cheese on toast etc. Probably also good for a cheese sauce but I haven’t tried that one yet. The reason I like it is its easy to make and even if it doesn’t work out properly can still be used as above. But also, because it doesn’t need to be aged before using and when you have limited fridge space or even no refrigeration this is the cheese to make. For me simplifying the cheese making process to only use common ingredients or simply raw milk makes sense if we are trying to be self-sufficient. All the ingredients for this cheese can come from your raw milk, apart from a little baking soda and salt which you should have in the pantry anyway.

The original article from Bittersweet – Old Time Cheese Making

Ingredients

1 1/2 gallons Fresh raw milk (approximately 6 litres)

4 Tbsps. butter (60 g)

¾ tsp baking soda

2/3 cup very thick sour cream (skimmed from milk)

1 ¼ tsp salt

Method

Set the milk in a warm place and skim off the cream when it has risen.

Leave the milk and cream in a warm place in separate containers to sour.

Taste the cream and when it is sour save 2/3 cup for use in the cheese. The rest can be used as sour cream.

Let the milk sit until it clabbers (sets) this can take 2 to 3 days. When the curd is thick and soured it is ready to cook.

(I leave the cream on the milk and scrape off once set, put the cream in the fridge and leave the milk for another day)

Clabbered milk, you can see the firm set as the food grade bucket is tipped.

Heat the clabber until the pot is hot to the touch, stirring frequently to separate the whey from the curd. This simmering will take about ½ an hour. When the curd is rubbery it is time to drain off the whey.

Curds separating while warming

Line a colander with a cheese cloth and pour in the curds. Allow the whey to drain out and let the curds cool a bit before squeezing out as much whey as possible, the curd should be quite dry.

Place the curds in a bowl and mix in the butter and baking soda. Press down and let it set for at least 2.5 hours or overnight.

Mixed with the baking soda and butter and pressed into the bowl

Mix in the remaining ingredients and cook the mixture in a double boiler (or in a metal or pyrex bowl over a pot of water) stirring occasionally cook until the curds are melted.

When melted and smooth pour the cheese into a well buttered mold (like a loaf pan) and let cool. Once cool it is ready to eat, this cheese will keep well in the fridge but to cure it longer it can be covered with wax.

Cheese pressed into the buttered mold
The finished cheese.