Making cheese is whey cool….It’s kind of weird to think about all the basic foods I’ve eaten my whole life but never made myself. Take for example : cheese.
Lately I’ve been thinking about fromage blanc….
During my childhood in the South of France fromage blanc was a everyday thing even though my mom bought it at the local cheese store but my French Grandma did make it from scratch. So now I’m going to try to make it on a early Friday morning before it get very hot and to finish by Saturday and try….wish me luck.
Like most home chefs, we’re unaccustomed to intentionally leaving multiple dairy products out overnight, but the cheese-making process is all about it, and by it, I mean creating a welcoming and comforting home for bacteria. The trick is letting the good bacteria in and keeping the bad stuff out.
So first things first: boil all utensils for twenty minutes.
Next, you ripen the milk by bringing it up to a not so hot 85 degrees.
Some things you’ll need that you probably don’t have on hand include the fromage blanc culture, calcium chloride (a compound used to remove moisture and help “firm up the curds”) and vegetarian rennet, used to coagulate the milk–you must, at all costs, coagulate that milk. Are you ready? Good. Let’s do this.
Next, you cover the pot with cheesecloth and move on to your second homemade dairy product process. See, to make fromage blanc the way Cowgirl Creamery does, you need to add creme fraiche, which we realized we could also make ourselves by simply mixing 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk… of course you let that mixture sit out overnight so it can begin to go bad/good.
Moving on to day two :
Curds and whey, as a couplet it’s real: the whey is what drips down through the cheesecloth and collects in a kind of yellow, cloudy, watery pool and what you can make ricotta cheese with according to my recipe directions. We opted out of using the whey as one cheese felt like enough for our first fromage attempt, but what I found out a little too late was that you can use the whey to make bread–just use it in place of water in any simple bread recipe. Cool, right? (Also, apologies to French Grandma for tossing out whey, but then again, let’s be honest, none of my family members are reading this blog.)
Now, you watch in awe as your mixture slowly begins to turn into fromage blanc.
And after eight hours, you stir in the homemade creme fraiche, pack the fromage blanc into this Weck jar and share the delicious finished product with all of your friends…
I must say, this was an incredibly satisfying attempt. Hope you guys try it out, too!