Crescenza is an Italian cheese, one of the softest of the firm cheeses. It has a creamy texture and no rind, with a mild and delicate flavor. It can be eaten alone, or used as the filling for various dishes.
- Heat milk slowly over low heat to 90°F.
- Turn off heat; stir in the starter. Cover and maintain the temperature at 90°F for 30 minutes, undisturbed.
- Stir in diluted rennet, using gentle up-and-down motions, for one minute Cover and let set at room temperature 45 minutes, or until there is a clean break.
- Cut the curds into 1-inch pieces; cover and let the curds and whey sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes. Stir the curds with a rubber spatula for 5 minutes, pulling the curds from the bottom to the top. Allow the curds to settle again, then ladle off the whey until you can see just the tops of the curds, sitting at the bottom of the pot.
- Use a cheese mold set on a draining rack and lined with clean, damp butter muslin Ladle the curds carefully into the mold. Turn the tails of the butter muslin over the top of the curds and let the curds sit in the mold and drain for 3 hours. While you are waiting for the cheese to drain, make a light brine (13 ounces of salt to 1 gallon of water) and chill it.
- Turn the cheese out of the mold and peel away the cloth. Pour the light brine into a plastic container with a lid and put the cheese into it. Let the cheese sit in the brine for 2 hours, flipping it periodically.
- Remove the cheese from the brine and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place it on an airing mat for about 1 hour, someplace cool and away from drafts. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Crescenza is best eaten within 1 week, though it may keep longer if you vacuum-seal it.
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