It sounds a bit odd – making cheese on the campfire. You probably want to manage your expectations on this one – you’re not making a fine camembert, but it’s still a brilliant activity and a tasty spreading cheese to have on crackers or toast.
Campfire cheese uses a basic chemistry concept: irreversable changes. You can read more about making it into a lesson/life lesson/ conversation here.
To make cheese on a campfire, you will need:
- 1 cup of milk – you don’t need full fat for this recipe. Semi-skimmed is best.
- lemon juice (use the squirty kind)
- salt and pepper
- herbs of choice – we used foraged three-cornered leek, wild-garlic or a selection of spring flowers.
- crackers or bread
You will also need:
- a heat source (camp fire, gas stove or hob all work, though campfire adds a smokey flavour to the cheese)
- a pan
- muslin or cheesecloth, or just a nut milk bag* which makes it a lot easier to get the cheese out again – it makes for a cleaner finish, as it were.
- mixing bowl
To start with, heat the milk on the campfire. In the picture I’ve used a double boiler. A normal pan works too, but keep stirring it so that it does not boil over or burn to the pot. Once it starts boiling, take it off the heat.
Squirt in lemon juice and it should immediately begin to curdle. Once you can see a clear difference between whey and cheese, you can stop adding lemon juice. The amount you need will vary, but a few squirts should do it. Leave it for a few minutes to allow for seperation to complete. Don’t add too much lemon juice or the cheese will taste lemony (which isn’t bad either.)
Place the nut milk bag inside the sieve over the bowl and pour the liquid through it.
The whey can be used in stocks, soups etc, but if you don’t want it you can discard it.
Leave the cheese in the cloth/bag for a while to drain. You can also lightly squeeze it.
Mix in salt, pepper or chopped herbs.
Spread it on crackers or have a sample on its own. You can also shape it into a ball and leave for a while to set/cool down, then you can cut it like you would a bought cheese.