Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Experiments with goat cheese, discovering a source for raw milk, and guiding my class of budding culinarians through the production of lemon cheese, and I got carried awhey (sorry, I couldn't resist) with the idea of making cheese at home.
Though I am an avid cheese eater, the only cheese I'd ever made myself was paneer (which, incidentally, is very similar to lemon cheese). So I thought it best to start with a fresh, uncultured cheese, if only for the simplicity and immediate gratification. My goal is to work my way up to homemade chèvre and convince my husband to get me a goat.
Herbed Lemon Cheese
1 quart whole or 2% milk
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ teaspoon minced fresh chives
½ teaspoon minced Italian parsley
¼ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Gently heat the milk to 180ºF. Add the lemon juice and stir slowly until the milk separates into curds and whey. Ladle into a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Gather the corners of the cheesecloth together over the curds and tie with butcher's twine. Let the curds drain in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, or until the desired consistency.
Transfer the cheese to a medium bowl, stir in the chives, parsley, thyme, and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Form the cheese into a wheel and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
Makes just over 6 ounces. This cheese has a mild, milky flavor and a spreadable consistency. You will need about 2 lemons for this recipe. Finely woven cheesecloth is preferable—if you have the loosely woven kind, use several layers of it. Vary the cheese by using other tender herbs such as basil, mint, or chervil. Alternatively, make a sweet cheese by stirring in a few drops of honey and some finely grated lemon zest. Keeps for a couple of days tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Keep the whey for baking and braising.