Farmers Cheese and Dairy Cultures

Home Made Marcarpone!

So yesterday I started making cheesecake, I had all of my garnishes ready to go, started weighing out the recipe and I realize I am completely out of cream cheese. I'm sure most people would just go to the grocery store down the street and buy a package or two of Philadelphia, but I live in a small town where everything is closed by 5 pm. Determined to finish my project I remember making some farmers cheese back in culinary school, which is perfect because all you need is a few lemons and a liter of milk or cream.

Here are a few recipes with simple ingredients to make some lovely fresh cheese and dairy products at home.

1. Ricotta

Ricotta, an Italian favourite. You can find ricotta in lasagna, Ravioli, stuffed chicken, and of course cheesecake. To make ricotta you will need 1 liter of milk, and 4 tbs of lemon juice.

Boil the milk and lemon juice until it splits and simply pour it through a fine sieve or a strainer lined with cheese cloth to remove the whey.

- 1 liter milk

- 4 tbs Lemon juice

- pinch salt

2. Marscarpone

This is basically the sweeter, creamier cousin of ricotta. The process is the similar with a different base. For marcarpone your going to use 35% cream, lemon and salt. put everything in a pot and bring it to a simmer, allow to simmer until it looks thick, about 2-5 minutes. Cool the cream over an ice bath and when it is cold, pour into a cheesecloth lined strainer and refrigerate over night so the whey can be drained from the marscarpone.

- 1 liter Cream

-4 tbs Lemon Juice

-pinch salt

3. Creme Fraiche

Okay so creme fraiche isnt really a cheese, but it can be used for so many things and sometimes its just more fun to make it yourself instead of buying sour cream from the store.

For this recipe all you need is, you probably guessed, 35% cream, a lemon and a table spoon of an old batch of creme fraiche or store bought sour cream. Stir a table spoon of sour cream into your cream with a squeeze of lemon. By using an already cultured dairy product you are introducing the pro biotic bacteria needed for fermentation to take place. Leave the mix on the counter, cover with cheese cloth so it can breathe, and let it sit for 24-36 hours depending on how thick and sour you want your end product to be.

- 2 cups cream

- 1 lemon zest and juice

- 1 tbs sour cream or creme fraiche

Happy cheese making!

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