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French style soft cheese.

This is a versatile style soft cheese . The texture and taste is like cream cheese. A great cheese to make when you have a home dairy and you are up to your eyeballs in milk. It can be used to make anything you would use cream cheese for and it freezes very well. I use it to make cheese balls in a variety of flavors and also to make cheesecake. Of all the cheeses that you can learn to make, this is an absolute must. Because of its versatility it has hundreds of uses.

Supplies:

* 5-6 quart stainless pot

* Thermometer that can read 80[degrees]F

* Cheesecloth (muslin type) This is not what is sold in grocery stores as cheesecloth.

* Large spoon to stir pot

* Someplace to hang the cheese to drain
French Style Soft Cheese

5 quarts whole milk

1/8 teaspoon mesophilic culture
or chevre culture or 1/2 cup cultured
buttermilk can be substituted for the
mesophilic culture.

2 tablespoons diluted rennet (Dilution
is 3 drops liquid rennet into 1/3 cup
of cool water.)

Warm the milk to 80[degrees]F. Sprinkle
the culture over warmed milk and
stir well. Add the diluted rennet
and stir well again. Cover and let set
undisturbed for 8-12 hours. Cheese
is ready to drain when it looks like
thickened yogurt. It may or may not
have a film of liquid on the top. Pour
into a cheesecloth lined pan and hang
to drain for 6-8 hours. Draining can
be hastened if you take down the bag
of curds and scrape the inside of the
bag towards the center, hang to finish
draining. Cheese is drained enough
when it reaches the consistency of
cream cheese.


Tips:

* If used as plain soft cream cheese, salt at a ratio of 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound.

* If freezing, freeze plain, unseasoned. I measure and freeze in one-pound packages. Flatten the packages to make them easier to stack in the freezer. This also makes them easier to unthaw and use for specific recipes.

* 2 cups equals I pound

Here are a few of my favorite recipes using the French style soft cheese:
Peanut Butter Pie

1 graham cracker crust

Filling:
4 oz. of French style soft cheese
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
8 oz. frozen whipped topping

1 cup powdered sugar

Beat the French style soft cheese
and peanut butter until creamy. Mix
in the powdered sugar and whipped
topping. Pour into the graham cracker
crust. Freeze until firm. Serve frozen
with hot fudge sauce if desired.

French Onion Cheese Balls

1 lb. French style soft cheese
3-4 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all together then roll into 2
balls.


Tip: I use dried minced onion, to which I add hot water to reconstitute. Drain or squeeze off the excess water and add 3-4 tablespoons to the cheese.
French Onion Pepper
Cheese Balls

1 lb. of the above French Onion
Cheese Balls. Roll them in coarse
black pepper. I use restaurant-style
coarse pepper. This is really a favorite
whenever I serve it.

Dill & Garlic Cheese Balls
1 lb. French style soft cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoons dill weed
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and then roll into
two balls or logs. Great served on
your favorite crackers or bagels.


Mary Jane is the author of Goats Produce, Too, and A Cheeseemaker's Journey, available from the Countryside Bookstore, 1-800-551-5691.

BY MARY JANE TOTH

MICHIGAN
COPYRIGHT 2012 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:The homestead kitchen
Author:Toth, Mary Jane
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Nov 1, 2012
Words:582
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