My first time, I attempted a number of different cheeses with varying degrees of success. These are the best two!
First up was mascarpone. We go through a lot of mascarpone and it’s not particularly expensive here, but I wanted to try my hand at it anyway. I used a recipe from the amazing fankhouser cheese-making site. Dr Fankhouser uses Tartaric Acid in his recipe but the first time I made it, I had yet to order any so I used lemon juice (a widely used substitute). The second time, I used tartaric acid and the difference was quite discernible, with the second batch having a smoother and creamier texture.
Makes about 500g
900ml light (25% fat) cream
1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid dissolved in 2 tbsp non-chlorinated water OR 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour the cream into a stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan that has about an inch of water in the bottom. Bring the water to a boil and heat the cream to 85°C, stirring occasionally.
When the cream reaches 85°C, whisk in the tartaric acid/lemon juice – it should start to thicken immediately. Keep the cream at 85°C for five minutes, stirring occasionally, by which time it should thicken to the consistency of runny yoghurt.
Take it off the heat and set the bowl aside, covered, to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
Line a strainer with sterile cheesecloth or cotton cloth over a bowl and pour the cream into it. Bring the corners of the cloth together and secure tightly with a rubber band. Suspend over the bowl for about 6 hours to thoroughly drain off the whey.
Remove mascarpone from the cloth and refrigerate until ready to use. It should keep for about a week in a sealed container in the fridge.
Next cab off the rank was my first foray into rennet cheese in the form of cream cheese made with organic sheep’s milk. It was originally destined to become feta (hence the sheep’s milk), but the curd didn’t set sufficiently and I didn’t want to just throw it away so I winged it. It’s not exactly what Dr Fankhouser describes here, but I think it’s a reasonable approximation. It went on to become an absolutely luscious baked cheesecake. 🙂