This soft, mild homemade cheese has wide appeal among children and adults. With the touch of a button, the Proofer makes the key 12-hour ripening period foolproof.
Simple fresh cheeses are not only delicious, they are great projects for anyone new to home cheese making. Part of the process involves maintaining a gallon of milk at the proper ripening temperature for 12-14 hours, a step which used to be quite challenging in a home environment. The Proofer’s accurate temperature control makes ripening easy as can be.
Fresh cheeses require a few supplies that are easy to find online and not too costly. You’ll need animal or vegetable rennet, cheese starter, and butter muslin which is a finely woven cheesecloth. Optional items are cheese salt, a minimally-processed, iodine-free salt, and cheese molds, which can help produce a lovely shape.
This recipe calls for a mesophilic starter, which is the general term for starter cultures that work at warm room temperature, 70-100 °F / 21-38 °C. We recommend a starter culture that contains LLD, lactococcus lactis subspecies biovar diacetylactis. When LLD is included in a culture it can produce the delicious and naturally-occurring flavor component diacetyl, which gives the cheese a rich and buttery quality. We have used Flora Danica for this recipe.
This cheese is delicious on pizza, as part of a burrito or taco filling, and also served with crackers or fresh bread. For a lovely party-ready presentation, shape the cheese and coat the outside with a blend of herbs or pepper.
Yield: This recipe makes about 2 lbs 7 oz /1.1 kg of cheese.
Timing: Start this recipe in the evening and allow the milk to ripen overnight. Drain the whey the next morning and put the cheese into jars or molds that same evening.
|High-quality whole milk||1 gal||4 L|
|Mesophilic starter*||⅛ tsp||1 g|
|Rennet, animal or vegetable||3 drops||3 drops|
|Water, non-chlorinated||⅓ cup||80 ml|
*We used Flora Danica for this recipe.
Equipment: Brød and Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker (without water tray), thermometer, butter muslin, as well as a large thick-bottomed stockpot no more than 8” / 20 cm tall and with a lid. Cheese molds are optional. Everything that will touch the milk and cheese should be thoroughly clean and dry.
Note: When using the Folding Proofer to make cheese, be certain there is no water in the water tray. The water tray is not needed for making cheese. You can remove it from the Proofer, if you like, or leave it empty. But do not add water because it will affect temperature settings.
Get ready. Set up the Proofer with the wire rack in place and the thermostat at 72 °F / 22 °C. Dilute the rennet by adding 3 drops of rennet to 1/3 C / 79 ml water and stir to combine. Note: the recipe does not use all the rennet-water mixture.
Warm the milk to 86 °F / 30 °C and add starter plus rennet. Pour the milk into a large stainless steel pot and slowly heat to 86 °F / 30 °C. Stir often to prevent scorching the bottom. When the milk reaches 86 °F / 30 °C, sprinkle the granules of starter over the surface of the milk and stir well to combine. Add 2 tsp / 10 g of the rennet-water mixture to the milk and stir.
Ripen for 12-14 hours. Put the lid on the pot and place the pot in the Proofer, undisturbed, for 12 hours.
Check the curd. Open the Proofer and remove the lid from the pot of milk. Gently tip the pot a little to the side to see if the milk has set. When ready, it will have formed a yogurt-like curd. If the milk has not yet set, replace the lid and continue to ripen until set, checking every 30 minutes.
Drain the Whey. Drape a large piece (about 36″ / 90 cm square) of butter muslin over a bowl large enough to hold 1 gal / 4 L of milk. Spoon or gently pour the curd into the muslin-lined bowl.
Gather the muslin at the top, forming a bag, and tie the string around it. Once the bag is tied securely, form a noose with the other end of the string and hang the bag to drain for 6-12 hours.
Salt and chill the cheese. Scrape the cheese from the butter muslin into a bowl. (Butter muslin can be washed and re-used). Add cheese salt or sea salt to taste and mix gently to distribute. Spoon the cheese into mason jars or pack it into cheese molds, cover and refrigerate. If using molds, set them on a plate or sheet pan to catch drips. The cheese will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.