Fromage blanc (white cheese in French) is a soft spreadable cheese with a milder flavor than yogurt. It is perfect for spreading on bread or crackers or as a dip for fruit or vegetables. Fromage blanc is very easy to make and is a great option for beginning cheesemakers.
- 1 gallon cow milk (do not use UHT/UP milk)
- 1 packet fromage blanc starter culture (this product is a ready-to-use packet which includes both starter culture and rennet)
OR use single-ingredient starter culture and a separate rennet
- Starter culture (choose one):
- Rennet (choose one):
- Butter muslin (very fine-weave cheese cloth) or a tight-weave
- dish towel
- A large pot with a lid (if metal, be sure it's non-reactive such as stainless steel)
- A wooden spoon
- A thermometer
Step One: Culture the Milk
Option #1: Using the Fromage Blanc Starter Culture
- Heat the milk to 86°F. (Please note: if using raw milk, this process will not pasteurize the milk.)
- Remove the milk from the heat and thoroughly stir in the packet of fromage blanc culture. Use an up-and-down motion rather than a mixing motion. Do not blend for longer than 30 seconds so as to avoid damaging the curd formation.
- Cover the pot and leave the mixture to culture for 12 hours at approximately 72°F.
- After 12 hours, the cheese should look like yogurt (solid if tipped but still relatively soft). You may see some whey separating from the cheese. The whey is a mostly clear liquid.
Option #2: Using a Mesophilic Starter Culture and Rennet
- Heat the milk to 75°F. (Please note: if using raw milk, this process will not pasteurize the milk.)
- Remove the milk from the heat and allow the mesophilic culture to dissolve on the surface of the milk for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Once dissolved, thoroughly incorporate the starter culture into the milk.
- Add the rennet mixed with water. Using up and down strokes (don't stir!), incorporate the rennet into the milk. Do not over-mix.
- Cover the pot and allow the mixture to culture for 14 to 16 hours at approximately 72°F (generally kitchen room temperature).
- After 14 to 16 hours, the cheese should look like yogurt (solid if tipped but still relatively soft). You may see some whey separating from the cheese. The whey is a mostly clear liquid.
Step Two: Strain the Cheese
- Place a piece of butter muslin (doubled) in a colander in a bowl. Gently spoon the fromage blanc into the butter muslin. Gather up the corners of the muslin and tie knots to secure.
- Hang the butter muslin filled with the fromage blanc over a bowl so the whey can drain. An easy way to do this is to tie the butter muslin around a cupboard handle so the bowl to catch the whey can rest on the counter underneath.
- Allow the fromage blanc to drain for 6 to 12 hours to reach the desired consistency (see below).
- Flavor fromage blanc with herbs if desired. You can mix in fresh or dried herbs. Alternatively you can mold the fromage Blanc and roll it in the herbs.
The consistency of the finished cheese will depend on the length of time it is strained.
- Strain the fromage blanc for approximately 6 hours for a soft, spreadable cheese or dip.
- Strain the fromage blanc for approximately 12 hours for a cream cheese consistency.
Uses for Fromage Blanc
- Fromage blanc is similar to a thick, mild-flavored yogurt and makes a wonderful dip for fruit or vegetables.
- Spread on your favorite crackers, bagels, toast, etc. as you would cream cheese.
- Use in recipes in place of other soft cheeses such as ricotta, mascarpone, cream cheese, etc.
- Use in place of sour cream
- Layer in a parfait with fruit and honey
- Add a little sweetener and use fromage blanc to frost cupcakes. (This is particularly delicious on carrot cake in place of cream cheese frosting)
Storing Fromage Blanc
Fromage Blanc will stay good in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Fromage blanc can be frozen but be sure to:
- Salt the fromage blanc well prior to freezing.
- Remove as much of the whey as possible (use a cheese press if you have one available); the drier the Fromage Blanc, the better it will freeze.