Ah, such a proud moment: my first baby steps into cheese making, at the behest of the boy who pokes me in the ribs until I give into his demands. And so the weekend of unexpected cheese making began...
This recipe makes a mild, slightly lemony soft cheese. It's the sort of thing that's just right for spreading over crisp crackers or if you're feeling adventurous, making into a fruity cheesecake (is it blackcurrant season yet?). It's very tasty, but I have to admit that at least half the pleasure came from the joy of making it.
A MILD & CREAMY SOFT CHEESE
2 litres of very fresh, organic whole milk (pasteurised)
the juice of 2 or 3 lemons
¼ tsp fine salt
~ herbs (dill/parsley/chives etc), wild garlic leaves, freshly ground black pepper to top the cheeses
1) Pour the milk into a large pan and heat until it reaches 185c, stirring constantly. Add the juice of two of the lemons and allow the curds (solid parts) and whey (clear liquid) to separate. If they don't, add the juice of the last lemon. Stir gently.
2) Lay a double layer of cheesecloth muslin over a sieve resting on a large bowl, then carefully ladle in the curds. You could now use it for cooking in sweet recipes - otherwise, transfer it into a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and stir into the curds. Wash the cloth, then wring out and scatter the cloth with the herbs/pepper/wild garlic before placing the cheese on top. Gather up the edges of the cloth and tie the cloth so the cheese is left in a ball inside.
4) Tie the cloth over a bowl and allow the cheese to drain for about 6 hours, or until it feels fairly firm. Unwrap and eat.