Lactic cheese is very versatile and can be used as an herbed spread by adding salt and the spices of your choice, or left unsalted and used as a dessert ingredient, such as rolled in crepes with strawberries. It can sometimes be used in place of cream cheese, too. This is a cheese you can make in the evening, let set overnight, and drain in the morning. It is very adaptable and forgiving, making it an all-around good beginner cheese.
Heat the milk to 86°F. Sprinkle direct-set cultures over the surface of the milk, let them rehydrate for 3 to 4 minutes, then stir them in using a gentle up-and-down motion.
Add 1 teaspoon of the diluted rennet solution and stir again for 1 minute, using the same up-and-down method.
Cover and leave the cheese to set for 12 hours, or until a solid curd forms. If for some reason (like you are busy or forget about it) you leave your lactic cheese sitting at this stage for over 12 hours, or even more like 18 or 20 hours, don’t worry. Your cheese should be just fine. Lactic cheese is patient and adaptable.
The curd should resemble yogurt and may smell similar. Pour or scoop the curd out of the whey into a colander lined with butter muslin. Tie the corners of the muslin to make a bag and suspend this bag over a sink or large bowl to drain for 6 to 10 hours, or until the cheese reaches the consistency you want.
When the cheese is ready, pour the curds out of the butter muslin bag into a bowl. Add salt and/or herbs now if you want to. Cover the bowl and stick into the refrigerator or the cellar.