Fromage blanc (white cheese in French) is a soft, spreadable cheese with a mild flavor. It is perfect as a spread 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.
What You'll Need
- Milk: 1 gallon cow milk (do not use ultra-pasteurized milk)
- Culture / coagulant: 1 packet fromage blanc starter culture. This product is a ready-to-use packet which includes both starter culture and rennet.
- Milk: 1 gallon cow milk. Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk.
- Culture: 1/8 teaspoon mesophilic aromatic culture (e.g., flora danica, mesophilic aromatic type B, MA4001,) or 1 packet mesophilic direct-set culture
- Rennet: 4 drops liquid rennet or 2 drops double-strength liquid vegetable rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup cool water
Homemade Fromage Blanc Recipe
Step One: Culture the Milk
- Heat milk to 86°F. (Please note: if using raw milk, this process will not pasteurize the milk.)
- Remove milk from 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, 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.
- Heat milk to 75°F. (Please note: if using raw milk, this process will not pasteurize the milk.)
- Remove milk from heat and allow the mesophilic culture to dissolve on the surface of the milk for approximately 2-3 minutes. Once dissolved, thoroughly incorporate the starter culture into the milk.
- Add 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 14-16 hours at approximately 72°F.
- After 14-16 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 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, to allow whey to drain.
- Drain fromage blanc for 6-12 hours, until desired consistency is reached (see below).
- Flavor fromage blanc with herbs, if desired. Herbs may be fresh or dried. Alternatively, mold the fromage blanc and roll it in herbs.
Adjusting the Consistency
The consistency of the finished cheese will depend on the length of time it is strained.
- Strain fromage blanc for approximately 6 hours for a soft, spreadable cheese or dip.
- Strain fromage blanc for approximately 12 hours for a cream cheese consistency.
Storing Fromage Blanc
Fromage blanc will keep 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.
Ways to Use 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 sweetener to taste and use fromage blanc to frost cupcakes (particularly delicious on carrot cake in place of cream cheese frosting)