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Brousse Cheese from 'Home Made Winter'

[Photograph: Oof Verschuren]

Homemade cheese can sound like a daunting proposition—after all, most of the cheese we buy at the store has been aged, molded, or dried for months before it enters our mouths. Making a cheese like gouda or gorgonzola takes proper equipment, patience, and practice.

Fresh cheeses like chevre and ricotta, however, are little more than drained curdled milk. Making these from scratch is easy, rewarding, and many times better than most of their store-bought kind. In Home Made Winter, Yvette van Boven offers a recipe for her own particular fresh cheese, called Brousse. She curdles a mixture of cow and goat's milk with a hefty pour of lemon juice, drains the resulting curds, and then lets the cheese drain in a small mold (easy to make from a single-serve yogurt container). One hour after heating the milk, her cheese is finished, and ready to serve on a cheese board, crumbled into salads, or broiled and eaten with pickles.

Why I picked this recipe: Fast, easy, homemade cheese? I'm in.

What worked: The cow-goat blend was a tangy surprise, and the fully drained cheese was fabulous crumbled on just about anything.

What didn't: I needed to add extra lemon juice to get the milk to curdle. In addition, the boiling step broke up the curds into tiny pieces that stuck to my cheesecloth. Next time I'll scald the milk, add the lemon juice, and let it curdle, covered, off the heat.

Suggested tweaks: Any acid will curdle milk, so if you don't like the taste of lemon here, you could substitute a neutral-flavored vinegar (or citric acid). Goat's milk can be hard to find; this cheese will work with just cow's milk. Stick with full-fat milks here, though.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Home Made Winter to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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