Homemade Lemon-Thyme Buttermilk Fresh Cheese

Recipe by Diana Adcock
READY IN: 17mins
SERVES: 2-4
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition

DIRECTIONS

  • Cut out three pieces of cheesecloth into 12-inch squares.
  • Line a colander or medium strainer with all three layers of cheesecloth.
  • Set colander in sink.
  • Combine milk, buttermilk, salt, lemon zest and thyme in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat, stirring often until mixture has separated into white curds and translucent whey, about 8 minutes.
  • If using lowfat buttermilk, separation occurs at about 180 degrees F and the curds will clump together readily.
  • If using whole buttermilk, separation occurs closer to the boiling point, about 212 degrees F, and the curds are finer-grained.
  • When using whole buttermilk, let curds and whey stand off heat for about 3 minutes after separation, so the curds cling together-this way you won't loose tiny curds through the cheesecloth.
  • Ladle the contents of the saucepan into the prepared colander.
  • Let the whey drain, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Lift the four corners of the cheesecloth and gather them together.
  • Gently twist the gathered cloth over the cheese and press out any excess whey. Do not squeeze to tightly or you will end up with a grainy cheese.
  • Cheese can be unwrapped immediately and served warm, or let stand until cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes more.
  • To serve a firmer cheese, transfer cheese, in its cloth, to a small flat-bottomed dish or pie plate; refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Unwrap cheese and gently invert onto plate; discard cloth.
  • Tent cheese with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated up to 2 days.
  • Remove from refrigerator and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
  • You can omit the lemon and thyme and opt for cracked black pepper, or fresh rosemary, or red pepper flakes, lemon zest and dill -- whatever fresh herbs you like.
  • You can also reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon, adding 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you want your cheese.