Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simple Homemade Cheese

For tonight's Memento, I prepared all the components ahead of time, since I knew I'd be recovering from another treatment. One of the components was something I've been meaning to try for a long time: homemade cheese.

Since the theme of tonight's supper club is Rustic French Cuisine, I stuck to simple recipes that one might make on a farm to preserve the harvest, including fromage blanc - a cheese made with just milk, buttermilk and lemon juice.

Homemade Fromage Blanc
2 quarts whole milk, as fresh as possible
2 cups fresh buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained

Put the milk in a large, heavy saucepan. In a mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and lemon juice and stir to combine well. Add the buttermilk-lemon juice mixture to the milk and begin to heat the milk, over low heat and very slowly, to 175 degrees F. While the milk is heating, stir only twice, making 2 strokes each time, with a heat-proof spatula or other flat utensil. Check the temperature often.

As soon as the temperature reaches 175 degrees F, remove the pot from the heat and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

Line a large colander with 2 layers of fine cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Gently ladle the curds and whey into the colander and allow to drain until the drips of whey slows, about 2 minutes.

Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together to form a hanging pouch, and hang pouch over a bowl and allow to drain until the cheese reaches the desired consistency.

I used a clamp from the garage to hang the cheesecloth pouch from the cupboards, and helped it along by twisting the cloth and squeezing out some of the excess whey. They whey, by the way, went into my bread - no waste on the rustic French farm.

(Recipe courtesy

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