For years, I have made a soft creamy cheese that resembles a commercial Boursin or Allouette for a couple of reasons:
1. I can
2. It is MUCH less expensive
3. It is very tasty and versatile
People are often astounded at the idea of "OMG, you MADE cheese!" yet almost nothing could be simpler. It just takes some planning and some milk and some refrigerator space.
I will list the procedure for savoury, but this can also be made in a sweetened version. Just eliminate the garlic and substitute other flavors.
Savoury Summer Cheese
2 quarts 1/2 & 1/2
4-6 TBLS buttermilk, the fresher the better
6 cloves of smashed garlic, tied in cheesecloth
Asst finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil & chives are my standards)
In a non-reactive container, heat 1/2 & 1/2 to 105 -110 degrees F. Stir in buttermilk and add garlic bag. Let sit in a warm place - kitchen counter, warming drawer, etc - until it clabbers. Wait another hour.
Line a colander with several pieces of cheesecloth or a well-washed linen dish towel. Drain over a large bowl for about 1 hour. Put bowl (under colander) into refrigerator and continue to drain for 24-48 hours, depending on the amount of time you have and thickness of cheese you desire. Longer draining time = thicker cheese.
Remove garlic bag and squeeze to extract all flavor. Add SPTT and herbs. Taste and adjust seasonings. This will keep for about one werek in the fridge but mine never lasts that long.
For the Sweet Version, AKA Coeur a la Creme:
Instead of garlic, add one vanilla bean to the 1/2 & 1/2. Let steep as directed and follow directions for draining.
Grated Orange Zest
Serve with berries or fresh lemon pound cake. It's not half bad with granola & fruit as a breakfast parfait either.
NOTE: I save the whey for bread-baking. Also, if I make a lot of this cheese, I'll make ricotta with the leftover whey.
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