When we were in Ohio over Christmas, I picked up a bunch of cheese cultures at Lehman’s, including a few packets of fromage blanc. According to Home Cheesemaking, it’s a French cheese, similar to cream cheese but with “fraction of the calories and cholesterol” (if you care about such things). Since good milk is easier for me to come across than good cream, this seemed like a better option than cream cheese for me. Fromage blanc turned out to be super easy to make, and I’m very happy with the results.
Per Home Cheesemaking, I heated a half gallon of milk to 86 degrees and then stirred in 1/4 tsp (1/2 packet) of fromage blanc starter. I let the covered pot sit in a cold oven (aiming for 72 degrees but closer to 80 degrees) for about 12 hours. I ladled the curds into a sieve lined with butter muslin. Then I gathered the corners of the cloth together to form a bag and let it hang for about 8 hours. The final result is a bit crumbly but still smooth with a slight tang. My yield was slightly less than a pound, but I assume the weight will vary with the hanging time.
So far I’ve been enjoying this cheese on crackers, stuffed into dates and as a dipper for raw veggies. I have not tried it in a recipe in place of cream cheese, but I suspect it would work out fine.
I have big cheesemaking plans for this weekend — homemade cheddar! Last weekend, J built me a homemade cheese press (post to come), and I just received my cheese mold in the mail yesterday. I’m so excited to try a hard cheese (although it will be a few weeks before we can eat it)!