Buttermilk Cheese

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A fresh cheese with a similar texture to goat cheese can be made from whole-fat cultured buttermilk.  This is very non-technical, with the separation of curds and whey accomplished through heat.  Here is how I made a batch out of 2 quarts of buttermilk, using Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making as a guide.

Allow the milk to set on the kitchen counter at about 72 degrees for 24 hours to sour it lightly.

Put the buttermilk in a large saucepan with a thermometer and heat it over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Somewhere between 160 degrees and 180 degrees the buttermilk will separate into small curds and whey.  Remove the pan from the heat and cool the pan in a water bath.  Line a bowl with butter muslin or cheesecloth and pour the curds and whey on top of the cloth.  Grab the corners of the cloth  to form a bag and suspend it for 3-4 hours over a bowl until the cheese has reached the right consistency.  The whey will drain off very quickly at first and then very slowly.

Put the cheese in a bowl.  At a minimum you will want to add cheese salt to taste. 

What I actually did was to mix in 4 oz. of Basturma which I had on hand (an air-cured dried beef which is popular in Armenia, finely chopped), 6 large chives (finely chopped), 2 cloves garlic (crushed), some coarsely ground black pepper, and a little bit of Trader Joe’s Ajika Georgian Seasoning Blend.  Since the Basturma is very salty, I did not think that the cheese needed any added salt.

The cheese will keep for weeks in the refrigerator.


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