Fromage Blanc Cheese with Cranberry Puree

Jim Wallace

2-3 tbsp. The Perfect Purée Cranberry Puree (or flavor of choice – thawed) to 1 cup of Fromage Blanc
1 gallon of milk (not ultrapasteurized)
1 Packet C20 Fromage Blanc Culture
Salt to taste
1. Heat 1 gallon of milk to 86°F while stirring slowly. You can use a thermometer, or since this is so close to our body temperature you can heat until the milk feels neither cool nor warm. Once the milk is heated, open one packet of Fromage Blanc culture and sprinkle it on the milk surface. Let the culture sit on the milk surface for 1 minute, then stir it into the milk for 2-3 minutes. This starter culture contains bacteria and rennet.
2. Allow the milk to sit quietly on the counter at room temperature 68-74°F for 12-14 hours. The milk will drop in temperature during this time but should not go below 68°F. If your kitchen is cool, keep the pot covered with towels or a blanket to keep the milk warm. The best time to make this cheese is in the evening because the curds will be ready to drain in the morning and can be draining while you are busy doing other things or at work. While the milk sits, bacteria in the culture converts the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid which gives the cheese its flavor and increases the acidity of the milk. The rennet will coagulate the milk into a gel like consistency after a few hours. When this curd mass shrinks slightly (visibly pulling away from the edges of the pot) you can move onto the next step. The Fromage Blanc at this point will look like a block of curd floating in clear whey.
3. Now it’s time to separate the solids (Curds) from the liquid (Whey). Begin by lining a sanitized colander with cheese cloth. If you would like to save the whey for cooking or other uses simply place the colander over a large bowl or pot to catch the whey. Transfer the curds into the lined colander using a ladle or slotted spoon, allow the whey to drain off. Once the curd is transferred you can bring the corners of the cheese cloth together and tie them off. It should then be hung for several hours to allow the whey to drain off. This can take from 3-12 hours depending on the final texture you want. A shorter draining time makes a moister cheese while a longer draining time makes a dryer cheese. Draining at room temperature 65-74°F works well since lower temperature will slow the draining process and higher temperatures will cause faster draining and a drier cheese. You may find that you need to open the cloth and scrape the edges to help the draining whey. If you prefer to drain your cheese in the fridge, fold a piece of cheese cloth over the curds rather than tying them into a bundle and keep them in the colander to drain. Place the bowl and lined colander into the fridge and allow to drain. This method may take longer since curds will slower at cooler temperatures.
4. The final texture of your cheese can be easily customized. Simply allow the curd to drain until you have a consistency you like. Once drained, you can add a bit of salt to taste and blend it in well until the texture is consistent. For the final step, drizzle 2 or 3 tablespoons of The Perfect Purée (any flavor) to 1 cup of Fromage Blanc for garnish. Since this cheese is fresh and will be consumed within a short time, fresh herbs, spices, chilies, nuts, fruit, etc. can also be added and mixed in. Fromage Blanc can be packed in a container and stored in the fridge. It should last for about 7-10 days.
Suggested servings: Serve Fromage Blanc on ka’kat bread or crackers.