Sunday, August 19, 2012

Easy French Style Chevre or Cream Cheese

This is very similar to neufchatel which is a french cream cheese and can be used in any recipe calling for cream cheese.

In a double boiler warm 5 quarts of pasteurized goats milk to 80 degrees

If you don't have any of these girls to milk,  I understand you can use 1 gallon of whole milk (don't get the ultra pasteurized it won't set curds) and 1 pint of heavy whipping cream but please note I have not tried it from store bought milk.

When your milk reaches 80 degrees remove from heat and add 1/8 teaspoon of Mesophilic DVI culture or 1 of the little packages you can get from a cheese supply house or 1/2 cup of cultured buttermilk (get the freshest date as possible when purchasing from store)  I have experimented with all 3 with the same great results.  Y'all did notice the or's here didn't you?....Don't put all of them into that milk or I don't know what you will get.

Put 3 drops of rennet in 1/3 cup of cool water and stir.  Measure 2 tablespoons of this dilution and add to your milk.  Pour the rest down the drain.  (it's's only a little bit and diluted rennet is no good in about 30 minutes or so )

Stir well and cover. Let set for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature. 
 If you make this at night before you go to bed it will be ready to drain in the morning.

It is now morning and we have done our chores and opened the pot to find this lovely mass of curd that resembles a very thick yogurt.

Place a colander in the sink and line it with butter muslin (I don't have any) or you can use an old freshly washed pillow case (Ive done that) just don't use any fabric softener on it.  You don't want your cream cheese tasting of downy or bounce...yuk  
Don't use regular cheese cloth.  It is too thin and your lovely cream cheese will wash down the drain.  I found a package of flour sack towels at Sam's Club.  After 4 or 5 washings they are soft and work great for my cheese projects.  I really hate cheese cloth.

Now pour your pot of curd into your lined colander.  It's looking real good huh?

Gather up the edges to make a bag and tie the top closed with a thin rope, twine, yarn...whatever you can find.  If you used a big enough piece of cloth you can knot it all together.  I use a piece of bailing twine from our hay bales.  There is 101 uses for that stuff.

Hang it to drain at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.  I run a spoon through my twine and stick it between 2 cabinet knobs.  Don't forget to put a pan under it to catch the whey that will be draining from the bag.  

After 6 to 8 hours it will look like this and be a solid mass.  I thought this batch looked like the mashed potato sculpture from Close Encounters.

Put in a bowl and admire it a few minutes while you decide what to make with it.  Oh and you have to take the gum out of your mouth and lay it on the counter while you have a small taste! 

I already have another batch in the refrigerator I am about to turn into (don't look kymber) a cheesecake for Papa Bear so I am freezing this batch.  Your fresh cream cheese can be frozen up to 6 months, thawed in the refrigerator and used in your recipes.

I measured mine out to make 1 pound packages.  I then put it into a one quart Ziploc freezer bag.

 I smashed it as flat as possible, pushing as much air as I could out of the bag.  A flat bag stores much better in the freezer.

This recipe makes a tad over 2 1/2 pounds of wonderful homemade French Chevre or Cream Cheese.....

Really Easy..Hope you make it and tell me how you like it.

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