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Fromage Blanc

Ingredients

1 gallon milk – raw or pasteurized, whole or skim (skim will yield a drier cheese)

1 packet direct set fromage blanc starter (or one of the rennet/starter combinations listed at Cultures for Health – see their directions)

Instructions

In a large pot, heat milk to 86 degrees. Add the starter and mix well.

Cover and let set at 72 degrees F for 12 hours. If the room temperature is below 72F, use hot packs or other sources of ambient heat.

After 12 hours, the curd will be firm and the whey will be separated and slightly milky.

Place a large colander in a bowl of sufficient size and line it with a large flour sack towel. You can also use butter muslin or a double layer of cheesecloth. The cheese will just about fill the colander at this point. It shrinks up as it drains. Right now it looks more like thick yogurt.

Tie the ends of the cloth and hang to drain at room temp for 6-12 hours. Shorter drain time = softer cheese, longer drain time = firmer cheese. I generally hang for 6-8 hours.

Notes

The recipe produces quite a bit of whey. You can use the whey for drinking (freeze it in cubes to use in smoothies for extra protein), use it to make live culture foods, feed it to critters, or water outside plants (I think it might get too smelly inside).

When the cheese is done, it’ll be dry and fairly firm.

After it’s finished, you can use it “as is”, or add flavorings. It’ll keep for up to two weeks refrigerated in a covered container. One gallon of milk yields about 2 pounds of cheese (which is about twice as much as a batch of mozzarella).

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