I had plenty of buttermilk leftover from the birthday cake I made this weekend, so lucky for me, I saw this recipe to make fresh buttermilk cheese on The Daring Kitchen and realized, “Hey, I have everything in my house to make this! (even cheesecloth! yay me!) and it’s not even complicated!” The recipe is from Simple Fresh Southern, by the Lee Brothers. I don’t have the book, so I can’t vouch for the rest of the recipes, but this one is so simple, very quick (~15 minutes total) and is a keeper. It tasted a little like a good fresh ricotta, spongy and curdy. The first version was made with lemon zest and fresh thyme, but after tasting it afterwards and adding a little pepper, it was much more to my liking. I feel like lemon and fresh cheese don’t jive, but maybe that’s just me. There was still another cup of buttermilk left, so I scaled down the basic recipe and made a black pepper version, which I really liked. Unfortunately I only had some lowly triscuits around to put it on. I do love me some triscuits, but this cheese deserves something crispy and delicate to sit upon next time.
Here’s the basic gist of the recipe, and a little photo montage on how to make it:
Ingredients: 1 qt. whole milk, 1 and 1/2 c. buttermilk, 2 t. coarse sea salt, plus your optional add-ins (I used 1-2 t. fresh chopped thyme and 1 t. lemon zest in my first batch, and ~ 1 t. medium grind fresh black pepper in my second).
Line your strainer with 3 layers of cheese cloth, leaving enough extra to gather it over the cheese later. Place strainer over large bowl.
Put all ingredients into heavy bottomed pot, heat over medium-high heat…
…until mixture has separated into curds and whey, about 8 minutes. Turn off heat, let sit 2 minutes.
Ladle into prepared strainer, let whey drain a minute or two.
Lift the four corners of the cheesecloth and gather them together. Gently twist the gathered cloth over the cheese and gently press out any excess whey. Do not squeeze out too much liquid or the cheese will be dry and grainy.
Turn out and serve warm on french bread, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt. Or, do what I did, and wing it.