Cheesemaking at Home – Cream Cheese

A week ago I posted about our first foray into cheesemaking where we made paneer, a very basic and easy to make cheese. At the same time we chose to make another basic cheese, cream cheese or fromage blanc. The recipe that we used was from Fias Co Farm again, and while they usually use goat’s milk, it turned out fine with cow’s milk.

Fromage blanc is a white soft cheese, similar to cream cheese and we’ve been eating it on bread and crackers. It does take a bit longer than paneer to make (around three days) but it’s not very labour-intensive so doesn’t take much active time. It also requires some specialised ingredients: mesophilic culture and rennet. We already had these as part of our cheesemaking kit but you can buy them individually quite cheaply. You only need a tiny amount of each.

Ingredients (makes about 350g (12oz))

1.5L (1.5 quart) fresh milk

1/8 tsp mesophilic culture (or follow the instructions on the packet)

1/5 drop of rennet (to get this place one drop into a jug containing 5 tsps of water, then add one tsp to the mixture).

Method

Warm the milk to 22°C (72°F) in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the mesophilic culture and rennet (as described above). Mix well. I accidentally added too much of the culture because I had a tiny sachet that was meant for 8 litres of milk, but it still worked out.

Cover the saucepan and leave it in a warm place (around 22°C or 72°F) for 18 hours. I left it inside my oven with it turned off since it’s not getting so cold here at night anymore. If you live somewhere particularly hot or cold you might want to use an insulated cooler/eskie.

After the 18 hours the mixture should look like yogurt. Now you need to pour it into moulds. I originally planned to use the feta brine container that came with our cheesemaking kit as a mould, but the holes were too large, so I ended up lining it with cheesecloth and also lining a colander with cheesecloth. Place the moulds in a tray to catch the whey. You can also add seasonings at this point (but not salt) so I added mixed dried herbs to one of the cheeses.

Cover the moulds (I used plates) and leave them to drain for 2 days. I did this at room temperature and the cheeses were fine, but you can do it in the fridge.

After 2 days have passed, gently lift the cheeses out of the moulds, sprinkle with a little bit of non-iodised salt and wrap in cling-wrap to store in the fridge.

Enjoy with crackers or bread.

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Comments

  1. This cheese looks so rich and fresh. You’ve definitely inspired me to try making cheese at home.

  2. I dove fairly deep into cheesemaking a couple of years back when I lived in California and had access to fresh milk. It is a lot of fun. Aged cheeses are trying and scary ( all that mold ). Fresh cheeses are very fun and enjoyable. I need to make fresh cheese again. Thanks for the reminder!

    DSG
    ZenPresence.com

    • It is definitely a lot of fun, and was pretty easy too. I wish we had a source of fresh milk, we just used milk from the supermarket, which was still yum. Have you tried making aged cheeses before? I was more put off by the number of steps than the mould, but will probably try it one of these days.

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