I have made this fresh curd cheese three times this week. Having never made it before, I was keen to perfect the technique. It’s important to use full cream non-homogenized milk. This milk has a creamy top to it, has a lovely rich flavour and produces stronger curds which separate from the whey quite distinctly.
It’s important to use a thermometer and watch the temperature keenly. The magic number is 80 degrees C.
This recipe is based on that of Paul West from River Cottage Australia.
2 litres of full cream non-homonogenized milk – the fresher the better
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup cream (optional – will produce a creamier cheese, I have made the cheese with and without the cream)
1/4 cup cider or white wine vinegar
Add 1/2 tsp of salt to the 2 litres of milk in a large saucepan. Add the cream also if you want a creamier mix.
Heat the milk slowly over medium heat to 80 degrees C. Measure the vinegar.
As soon as the milk reaches temperature, add the vinegar. Give it a gentle stir but be careful not to stir too much as this will result in a squeaky curd. Agitate it just enough to incorporate the vinegar into the milk. You should see the curds start to separate from the whey and move to the top of the saucepan.
Leave for about for about 5 minutes, and watch for any cracks that start to form or any swelling bubbles about to pop on the surface of the pan. You want to maintain the temperature at just below boiling point so pour a small amount of cold water into those spots as you see them pop up.
Remove the pan from the heat. It should now be done, and have a clear separation between the green-ish colored whey and the curds. The curd is the cheese.
Pour the mixture carefully into a colander or sieve, lined with muslin, set over a large bowl. The whey will drain into the bowl, leaving behind the fresh curd in the colander or sieve.
Once you have all of the curd in the colander or sieve, set it aside to cool and finish draining to your desired consistency. To facilitate the draining I tied the muslin cloth and gently squeezed the whey from the muslin bag. This is not strictly necessary – it just sped up the process.
Refrigerate in a container with as little air as possible. Or you can cover with olive oil in a container if you are going to use the cheese in a savoury way.
Use the cheese as you would ricotta. The Fresh Curd Cake in the previous post is a fantastic use of the cheese.