Monday, August 13, 2012

Top Two Easy Cheeses

   Before I share the easiest two cheeses we love to make (and eat) here on our little farmstead, let me say they require direct set starters I order here. I realize that cultures can be purchased, activated, and maintained, but I have just not yet arrived at that place in my cheese making; it is a goal, just one I haven't attained.

Fromage Blanc

1 packet Fromage Blanc direct set culture
1 gallon milk
salt (additional seasonings possible)

**This cheese cultures 12 to 24 hours in the same manner as yogurt. 
# Bring milk to 86 degrees.
# Stir in culture.
# Cover and set 12-24 hours. 
**It is ready when  a yogurt-like curd is floating in whey.
# Ladle curd into a colander lined with butter muslin and drain 4-6 a consistency you like. 
** We like ours similar to a block of cream 6 hours for us.
# Place cheese into a bowl and season to taste.
** We like dried tomato and basil, chili and lime zest, or to whip it with honey and fruit or our favorite home made jam/jelly.
# Store in fridge up to 10 days or freeze. It will freeze several months.


1 packet Chevre direct set culture
1 gallon milk

**This cheese cultures similar to the Fromage Blanc.
# Bring milk to 86 degrees.
# Stir in culture, let rehydrate 2 minutes, then stir.
# Cover and let set for 12 hours..temp is ideal at 72 degrees.
**My kitchen is very warm..sometimes I set the pan in a sink of cool water to keep the culture from being too warm.
# Ladle curd gently into a butter muslin lined colander; hang and drain 6 to 12 your desired consistency. 
**Our chevre is kept on the creamy side; easy to 6 hours for us.
**We often flavor our chevre as we would Fromage Blanc.

  How We Eat It

smeared on everything:
as a dip for fruits/veggies/pitas

in recipes such as:
anything calling for cream cheese

   Admittedly..I love the flavor and versatility of both these cheeses and use them interchangeably in my kitchen. The down side is their need for a purchased culture, however, that is something I am working on. For now, I buy in bulk, rotate the types of cheeses we make: culture based, rennet cheeses, and when all else fails..cheeses made with lemon or vinegar as a base. Now, excuse me while I go make a snack..all this talk of cheese gave me a craving!

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