Lemon Herb Cheese

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups of soft, spreadable, delicious cheese

This recipe is from Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making. I discovered it as part of the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge. It tastes so fresh and delicious – it has totally ruined me for store-bought cheese. Serve it on sliced baguette.

Note – the only special equipment required are cheese cloth and a candy/oil thermometer, both of which are available at kitchen supply stores and some grocery stores. Don’t let that be the reason you pass this up!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk (2% will work, but produce a drier cheese)
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons, approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  • Approx. 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Finely chopped herbs such as chives, oregano, thyme, cilantro, basil


Method:

  1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, gently bring the milk to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to stir frequently to keep from scalding the milk.
  2. Turn off the heat. Add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice and stir well. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. After waiting, the milk should be curdled, and the whey (the liquid) should be clear. If it’s still milky/cloudy, add more lemon juice, stir gently, and give it a few more minutes. Depending on the acidity of the lemon juice, it may take quite a bit more. It won’t hurt to use more, but if you use more than necessary, the final result will have a stronger lemon flavor.
  4. Line a colander with butter muslin and gently pour the curds into it. Allow it to drain for a few minutes, and then tie the corners of the muslin together to form a bag.
  5. Hang the curds to drain. I use a twist-tie and rubber-band combination to hook the bag over the kitchen faucet.
  6. Allow to drain for 1-2 hours, until it stops dripping and has firmed up a bit. (If you’re in a hurry you can speed the process somewhat by squeezing the bag gently from the top down).
  7. Remove the cheese and mix in the salt and herbs to taste.
  8. Store the cheese in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Source: see above!

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