There are many recipes on the internet which aim to duplicate the popular French fresh cheese Boursin. Most of them start with purchased cream cheese and butter, which are mixed together and then flavored. I was looking around for a version which involved actually making a fresh cheese as a starting point. I found a nice video by an Australian cheesemaker, Gavin Webber. He seemed to know what he was doing, and this was reinforced when one of my American cheese-making cookbooks recommended his blog as a resource. This posting is following his method. The main modification I made is to substitute good quality sour cream (i.e. the ingredient list is ….. cultured cream) for the crème fraiche which he used. Sour cream is easier to find and cheaper. This version uses dried herbs to help dry and firm the cheese vs. the wetter fresh herbs.
This is a fairly easy project which within a day can produce a good product to eat with dinner. We will use some of it tonight with Overnight 40% Whole Wheat Bread and some of it in a few days as part of the toppings of Tarte Flambée AKA Flammekueche AKA Flammkuchen AKA Alsatian Pizza. I already have three variations of this tasty pizza cousin on my blog.
2 quarts good quality whole milk (I used Cream-line milk)
1 cup sour cream
3 peeled garlic cloves
1/3 cup lemon juice
14 tsp. rennet dissolved in ¼ cup cool non-chlorinated water (I used distilled water)
½ cup whipping cream
1 tsp. cheese salt (or Diamond Crystal kosher salt – key point is that is not iodized)
1 Tbs. garlic puree
2 Tbs. dried parsley
3 Tbs. dried chives
In a large pot, whisk together the milk and sour cream. Add the garlic cloves. Over medium heat, warm the milk and cream to 113 degrees. Remove from the heat and remove the garlic cloves. Add the lemon juice and mix it in. Add the rennet and mix it for 1 minute. Put a lid on the pot and hold it at 113 degrees for 30 minutes. I was able to fit the pot into my sous-vide container, which made it easy to maintain the right temperature.
After 30 minutes, there should be a good break between the curds and the whey.
Place butter muslin in a colander over a bowl. Spoon the curds and whey onto the butter muslin. Remove the garlic cloves.
Gather the ends of the butter muslin and gently squeeze to release some more of the whey. Leave the curds in the butter muslin in the colander to drain for 2 hours.
Put the drained curds in a bowl.
Whip the whipping cream to soft peaks. (I did this by hand with a whisk.) Add the whipped cream to the curds and mix. Add the salt and mix. Then add and mix in sequence the garlic, parsley, and chives.
Find two bottomless and topless rings which can be used to form the cheese. I used two 4-inch spring form pans. Cut circles of baking parchment for the bottom and top of the containers, and a strip of baking parchment for the sides. (This will help wick away the moisture and help firm the cheese.) Put the baking parchment on the bottom and sides of the containers. Spoon the cheese into the containers, pressing it gently into a solid block. Place the baking parchment circles on the top and press gently.
Put the containers in a refrigerator to firm and meld for a minimum of two hours.