Friday, April 22, 2011

Vanilla Bean Herb Homemade Farmer's Cheese


yes, more cheese...this one is FARMER'S CHEESE.  
i love making cheeses and yogurts... continuously trying out different methods, milks and flavors.  am i becoming a cheese head?...should i get a goat in the back yard?   funny thing is...i really don't eat THAT much cheese...it's just so rewarding and i seem to be fascinated with the science behind it.
 Farmer's Cheese is a basic fresh cheese with a slight tang.  it's a great cheese to start with.  when making it at home you can choose the flavors and regulate how hard or soft you prefer.  i don't care for the crumbly type, i prefer it a little moist like a Neufchatel or a very thick cream cheese...easy to slice or wedge but still spreadable...


farmer's cheese is quite delicious and well worth the few hours it takes to create...BUT it was this flavor combo that made it fabulous...

VANILLA BEAN, ROSEMARY, THYME
with a little honey and a pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper

the vanilla bean along with fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden was a hit.  of course, i thought it was something new, but low and behold...i was at the market to peruse the cheese station like i always do and isn't there just a big fat log of goat cheese with the flavor printed right on the front...Vanilla Honey !!!...well, to my credit...i had never heard of vanilla bean in savory cheese before...so there!

do you think i could go as far as...

VANILLA IS THE NEW BLACK...?
VANILLA IS THE NEW BACON...?

i've been obsessed with vanilla beans lately, trying to sneak them into everything i can...  please do try this combo out in something...i've made some thick Greek yogurt and some "Goat-Yo" (goat-yogurt) with these flavors and i love it...i posted about Skyr (Icelandic Yogurt/Cheese) just a few days ago and used the vanilla herb mix in that for a tasty breakfast treat...along with some fresh berries and you're set. 


FARMER'S CHEESE

1/2 gallon whole milk...NOT ultra pasteurized
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp salt
flavor option...1 vanilla bean scraped
1 tsp fresh minced rosemary
1 tsp fresh minced thyme
fresh ground pepper
and maybe a little more salt to taste when cheese is nearly ready...don't over salt in the beginning because it will get more concentrated as the whey drains

make sure your utensils are clean...i read that you should use all stainless steal
heat milk in a large stock pot SLOWLY to 190 F degrees
take off the heat and stir in the vinegar.  the milk should immediately start to curdle
let the milk/vinegar sit for 15-20 minutes

place a large colander over a large bowl or pot.  drape a few layers of cheesecloth or fine muslin over the colander.  pour the cheese curds into the cheesecloth.  the whey will drain and the solid curds will remain in the cloth.  i let this sit on the counter for about an hour so that most of it drains.  when the dripping slows, pick up the 4 corners and squeeze more whey out...or what i  like to do is tie up  the corners and hang from a wooden spoon or something...keeping something under to catch the dripping whey.  when you feel the cheese is hard enough to shape and the dripping has stopped, unwrap it and take a peek.  i like to taste it at this point...add salt if necessary.  if it looks too "curdy and crumbly" put it in a bowl and stir (or mash it together with a fork)  to bring it together...more spreadable.  take the ball of cheese and pack it into a mold...i find that a ramekin works well.  cover and refrigerate.  you might want to line your mold with plastic wrap for easy removal if you are looking for a cheese that will stand alone (as shown in photos).  sometimes i will just use it straight out of the ramekin if there's no need for presentation.

your fresh Farmer's Cheese should be ready in a few hours.  enjoy
this is a fersh cheese so it should be eaten within a week to 10 days.

3 comments:

ButterYum said...

Yowza! What a stunning photo!!!

Happy weekend to you.

:)
ButterYum

Sara said...

This looks fantastic and I'd love to try it... One question, at what point do you add the vanilla and other spices? Do you pour them in with the milk at the beginning or add later?

Thanks!

Jules and Ruby said...

hi Sara...i usually put the flavors in when it's still in the colander after most of the whey has drained. then i let it drip some more...do a final taste test before you put into the mold of choice. hope that helps...thanks for stopping by.

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