Sunday, September 23, 2012

Little House on the Prairie Cooking: Making Butter and Cheese

L and E (3 years old) love the My First Little House picture books (based on the Little House on the Prairie chapter-book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder) .  For our Cooking Day last week, we made two items inspired by these books:  butter and cheese.  This was the first time making butter and cheese from scratch for me too, and I think I had as much fun as the kids did.  I'm very proud to say that the results were quite successful.  Here's how we did it:

Since we don't have a butter churn, I poured some heavy cream into a glass jar with a bit of salt and the girls and I took turns shaking it.  We sang songs like "Shake, shake, shake the butter" (I made this one up, but it was to a familiar tune), and watched Barney the Dinosaur make butter on YouTube (go to around 11:00 in the episode to see it). 

After A LOT of shaking (and some extra vigorous shaking help from a curious Daddy), we poured off the liquid, and we had butter:

It was delicious!

Next we made some cheese.  I'm not sure what the technique was for making cheese on Little House on the Prairie, but I found a recipe online.  We poured the rest of the cream (2 cups), and 2 cups of regular milk into a pot and got it just to where it started to boil:

Then the girls carefully helped me add 1/8 cup of vinegar.  I was expecting some major curdling (like the consistency of cottage cheese), but it didn't appear to work.  I added a bit more vinegar and it didn't seem to do anything.  I decided to proceed anyway, so, along with my little helpers, I strained the mixture with some coffee filters since we didn't have a cheese cloth:

To my astonishment, it actually worked and the resulting cheese was very similar to cream cheese.  Both girls enjoyed some on crackers (even my picky eater, E):

I left it in the strainer (in the fridge) overnight and the rest of the liquids drained out.  I have to admit it really did taste like cream cheese!  After having our fill of homemade cream cheese on crackers and toast, I made some mini cheesecakes:

I made a buttery gluten-free crust, filled it with a mixture of cream cheese mixed with an egg and a tablespoon of honey, and topped it off with apples and almonds.  Yummy! 

When we read the Little House books, the girls love looking at the pictures and discussing what Laura and Mary are doing.  They enjoy relating the activities from the books to things they've done (like helping Ma around the house, going to the store, etc..).  Now when we get to the sections where they make butter and cheese we'll be able to say "Remember when we did that?".  Pretty neat!


  1. Wow o-- cheese!!! Pretty wonderful. I want to try making cheese--perhaps when the girls come for a visit they can show Oma how to make cheese.

  2. Replies
    1. It really was a neat experience! Thanks for visiting my blog.


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