(Not written by me, link provided below)
Breast Milk Cheese
Mon, 13/03/2006 - 11:36
Ever since I went to France to learn french ten years ago, I changed from a cheese-hater into a cheese-lover. How could I not! Everyday for three weeks my host parents (Les Delforges de Reims) indulged me with french food, and closed the lengthy dinner session (which can last up to two hours) with a plate of various cheese, consisted of different kinds of cheese, from Camembert, Brie, swiss cheese which has holes in it, blue cheese, smelly cheese, etc. It was quite challenging, but if I want to learn about the french, I gotta eat what they eat. Until now, my favorite is Camembert Cheese which should be slightly aged.
I guess that's what Hericz (an avid cheese-hater) should do if he wants to start to eat cheese :> But it's undeniable that in order to love cheese you need to develop an acquired taste.
I also attempted to make cheese, which has been successful for several times. I made the easiest type of cheese, which is Paneer a.k.a. Cottage Cheese. This type of cheese is then cooked as curry or whatever indian food, and has a consistency similar to Tofu. It can be fried or baked or anything, basically what you can do to Tofu you would be able to do to Paneer too.
It was pretty easy to make paneer actually. What you need is just milk and lemon juice. In short, just boil the milk, then add lemon juice, and VOILA! The milk separates into curd and whey. Gather the curd and press to make it more solid. There you have paneer. In the meantime, you can use the whey to cook rice, it actually tastes really delicious. You can find step-by-step instruction on making Paneer here, with pictures too.
My extensive experience in making Paneer compelled me to try something different, that is, making Paneer out of my own breastmilk. Basically this is human cheese. Why would I do that? Well, basically, there are about twenty bags (each 150ml) of frozen breastmilk in the fridge, and they have passed their three months drinkability period, which means I would not be able to donate the milk like I did before. But the milk is still less than six month old, which is the actual expiry date. So what do I do with it? I could make cream soup like I did several months ago. But I really wanted to try something different, and making Breast Milk Paneer sounds really exciting.
So I started by emptying three liters of frozen milk into a cooker, and simmering it until it boiled.
So far so good, the milk boiled beautifully. You could see that breast milk looks less creamy than full cream cow milk, less white in colour, and more watery.
Just like when I'm making paneer, I added lemon juice at just the right time when it boils. Then I stirred the milk, waiting until curdle was formed.
I waited, and waited, and waited, no curdle was formed although the milk turned a bit more yellow. So I added more lemon juice, this is what I usually do if the cow milk does not curdle.
I added and added and added more lemon juice until I ran out of lemons, and I stirred and stirred and stirred, but the milk stood still.
Out of desperation because I ran out of lemons, I pour in a dash of vinegar too. Still, no change to the milk. I became really desperate and pour the whole bottle of vinegar! Nothing happened.
At that point in time, I gave up. I couldn't believe it! I am an experienced Paneer maker, by the way!
Then I decided to google about what maybe the cause of my problem.
And I found the answer. It turned out that breast milk can not curdle, because the protein content is lower, and because the protein in breast milk is more easily digested compared to cow's milk. That's why, unmodified cow's milk is unsuitable for babies. And on the other hand, adding acid to further 'digest' breastmilk protein won't curdle the milk.
So, the moral of the story, YOU CANNOT MAKE CHEESE OUT OF BREASTMILK. Don't even try.
I was really sad that I needed to throw away three liters of my own milk. There's basically nothing I could do with the milk-acid mix, that smelled like DISGUSTING PUKE (because of the vinegar). I could actually add baking soda to neutralize the acid condition, but I already lose confidence on the milk itself. So, my three liters went into the grass patch in front of my home entrance. I should've tried with only two bags of breastmilk before deciding to cook all three liters of it, and then I would be able to do other experiments with the other bags of breast milk.
I suppose, making breast milk yogurt / human yogurt would be possible, although I don't think it would be as creamy as cow's milk yogurt. I suppose breast milk yogurt would be really runny. And I think breast milk butter / human yogurt would be possible but you'd need liters and liters of fresh breast milk to start off. Definitely you could make cream soup out of breast milk, and perhaps milk shake and smoothies too. Or as pancake. Many things !