fromage blanc or just say cheese!
After managing to make some home-made yoghurt using my yogurt/cheese appliance and being very satisfied with the results, cheese making ( had made a ricotta style cheese before) using rennet tablets was next on the list! I thought it better to start with a basic un-ripened soft cheese. Having found a very informative site for cheese making for beginners (me) and managing to get my hands on some rennet tablets, I was very excited to get started.
Most cheese recipes start off by using large volumes of milk (10 liters) but I was using my yogurt/cheese appliance (can be made without appliance) that could only accommodate 1 liter of milk. I needed to scale down the volume of milk and hope that my cheese making attempt would work… it did and the result was a soft dense spreadable white cheese with a slight tangy taste that I and my tasters were very happy to devour… once the camera had been set aside!
- 1/8 tablet rennet
- 1 liter fresh whole milk
- 1oz buttermilk culture
- fine sea salt
How to make:
Pre-heat the yogurt/cheese maker using the cheese setting.
Dissolve the rennet tablet completely in a tablespoon of warm water.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat the milk gently until it reaches a temperature of 35˚C (check using a thermometer), remove from heat.
Add the buttermilk and stir well. Next add the rennet and stir for about a minute until thoroughly combined.
Pour the milk into the sterilized jars (used all the jars ) and place jars without lids into the yogurt/cheese appliance and leave undisturbed for 12 hours.
Once the twelve hours were up you could see that the milk had set (curds) and the whey was visible. As the yogurt/cheese appliance has only two jars with strainers I used another strainer with a very fine mesh placed over a jug to strain the rest of the curds.I left the curds to drain (covered in the fridge) for 9 hours which resulted in a soft cheese.
I still felt that I wanted a firmer cheese so I achieved this by placing all the cheese together in the one strainer, laying over some grease-proof paper and placing a 1lb weight on top of the cheese to expel more whey. After another two and a half hours I decided that I was happy enough with the firmness of the cheese. Now I know why cheese-making is made with large volumes of milk… so much whey drains from the curds and the resulting cheese was not much bigger than a Boursin Cheese!
Before shaping the cheese I mixed in about 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt for flavor, salt also helps with preserving the cheese. I only left the cheese to sit un-eaten in the refrigerator (covered) for one day to further mature.
The cheese can be eaten at this stage or matured further by salting and turning...but that will be another cheese for another day and another post!
Rather than mix the herbs into the cheese I topped the cheese with some garden fresh herbs (thyme, basil and chives), some home-dried tomatoes and a few twists of black pepper, eaten with some crackers… delicious!
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