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.
Reprinted with permission from Home Made Winter by Yvette van Boven, copyright 2012. Published by Stewart, Tabori, & Chang. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:makes about 6 ounces cheese
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:1 hour and 20 minutes
- 2 1/4 cups (500 ml) whole cow's milk
- 2 1/4 cups (500 ml) goat's milk
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat milks, lemon juice, and salt until the milk begins to curdle. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes, until the clear whey has separated from the solid curd.
Line a sieve with a clean cheesecloth, set it over a bowl, and pour in the mixture. Collect and save the liquid (the whey), as you can use it to make soda bread.
Squeeze the curd in the cheesecloth to remove as much whey as possible.
Press the cloth with the fresh cheese into a faiselle, or a small container with a few holes. You can make this yourself from a can or plastic cup in which you poke some holes. Let the cheese firm in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Eat plain, or with honey for breakfast, or on a salad.