Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fromage blanc

Did someone say "Cheese!"?

Hmm. Must have been me.

Late last Friday, it was time to make our first tentative foray into cheese making, starting with a simple soft cheese: fromage blanc. First we brought the milk to 86 degrees and then innoculated it with the cheese culture which smells just like cheese. Then we ignored it for 12 hours.

I like making stuff that's easy like this!

On Saturday the real work began. We had to drain the curds,
Curd draining apparatus.

by ladling the now curdled mixture into a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a large pan.
I'm not grumpy, I'm concentrating.

Then, tie it up and let it drain for the next 12 hours.
That was it.

I said I liked it easy, didn't I? Tying it up was the hard part. I started with a piece of butter muslin that was a little too small and spilled curds and whey down the counter and onto my foot. Whoops! However, once we worked that part out, we walked away and did other things while the draining took place.

When it was over, our gallon of whole milk had turned into 3 quarts of whey (1 quart has been turned into 4 loaves of yummy bread, so far),
No whey! Yes whey!

and 2 lbs of fromage!
Look ma! I made cheese!

The hard part has been coming up with a good way to make use of the cheese. By itself, it's a bit bland and sour. Sort of like cream cheese. I mixed some up with honey and orange peel and I think it would be great in crepes (which I haven't made yet, probably this weekend). I salted some and added Herbs de Provence, but don't care for the combination. The way I've liked it best is on bread or crackers, plain, with fresh peach jam slathered on top. Yum!

As far as being a first experiment, it was easy-peasy.

This weekend, I'm going to jump ahead and make some mozzarella! I feel a pizza or two coming on!

In other dairy-making news, I made my very own sour cream (looks just like yogurt or buttermilk in a jar, so I didn't bother photographing it) and yet more yogurt (I found detailed directions on yogurt making at the cheese making web site. It's worth a peek, if you're interested in making your own yogurt.). Next up: kefir and clotted cream. Time for tea and scones!

What have you been up to? Something yummy?


screamish said...

yum! cheese! you're so very amazing cuisine here at the moment, we are camping in our half empty flat while we move- last night was cassoulet from a can heated up in the microwave (just the thing to eat in this summer heat)

the night before it was herring salad with beetroot and couscous, because at least i could just pour hot water on the couscous and it cooks. surprisingly yummy actually.

Ed said...

WOW!! Tracy, hands down this is the coolest (food) thing I've seen in a kitchen! I have to try this!!

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