Cheese is awesome, isn’t it? As part of my ongoing home dairying adventures, I’ve settled on a simple method for making fresh cheese that I think is historical and that produces a very tasty final product. I made some today and remembered to snap a photo before we gobbled up every molecule.
You will need:
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (actually the amount isn’t really that important, you could use anything from 1/4-2 cups)
- A large container with a lid, like a giant Mason jar
- A nonreactive pot
- Some cheesecloth or a very clean kitchen towel
- A colander
- Salt plus optional herbs or whatever else you’d like to use for flavor
- In the jar, combine the milk and buttermilk. (Full disclosure: you can also do this in the pot itself.)
- Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight (up to 24 hours), until milk is fully soured (cultured).
- Transfer cultured milk (called “clabber”) to the pot.
- Heat, stirring occasionally, until the clabber curdles. This happens faster than you might expect.
- Line the colander with a kitchen towel or several layers of cheesecloth. If you want to reserve the whey, place the colander over something big enough to catch that much liquid.
- Drain the curds by pouring the curdled clabber slowly through the lined colander.
- Draw up the corners of the cheesecloth, tie loosely, and hang to drip drain. I use a wooden spoon to suspend the bundle over a pot or deep bowl. If you are impatient, you can squeeze the curds, but this makes the texture less creamy.
- When the curd reaches desired dryness, add salt to taste, or use in any recipe calling for fresh cheese.
In addition to being a perfect base ingredient for many recipes, this cheese is great spread on fresh bread. If you go that route, do experiment with adding other flavors to it.