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Two Ways to Make
Buttermilk Chévre

By Joy Sebastian-Hall

Version #1

2 gallons milk, brought to room temperature
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Pour milk into a stainless steel pot and gently heat to 75°F. Stir in buttermilk. Cover and place at room temperature 10-12 hours. I put it on my stove.

Add 1/2 teaspoon rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water, stirring gently for 15 seconds. Replace the lid and leave for 1 hour. Check for a clean break, if not, then wait a little longer. (Probe a clean finger into the—hopefully—gelled milk and lift. If the gel is firm enough to break cleanly as the finger is lifted, go to next step. If the milk is gelatinous, flows across your finger, let sit until a clean break is obtained. Do not stir. This may take as long as 1-2 hours.) Be patient, do not disturb the milk.

Once the curd is formed, use a long knife to cut the curd into 1" pieces. Cut lines going one way then change directions and repeat. Let the curd sit for about 5 minutes to let the cuts "heal."

Ladle the curds into a cheesecloth-lined strainer. (I use cloth handkerchiefs that were given to me, they are awesome.) I place the strainer in another pot to save the whey for ricotta or bread, etc. Tie the corners of the cloth together and hang the cheese from 4 hours to overnight to drain the remaining whey. The longer it drains, the tighter the cheese.

Remove from its bag and sprinkle with roughly 1 tablespoon sea salt (to taste). Unsalted cheese doesn’t keep well and is bland. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Can be used in place of cream cheese.

Version #2

2 gallons milk, brought to room temperature
2 tablespoons buttermilk
4 drops of rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Pour milk into a stainless steel pot and gently heat to 75°F. Stir in buttermilk and rennet. Cover and place in a room temperature place 10-12 hours. I put it on my stove.

Check for a clean break, if not, then wait a little longer. (Probe a clean finger into the—hopefully—gelled milk and lift. If the gel is firm enough to break cleanly as the finger is lifted, go to next step. If the milk is gelatinous, flows across your finger, let sit until a clean break is obtained. Do not stir. This may take as long as 12-16 hours.) Be patient, do not disturb the milk. Many times there is a whey layer above the cheese curd when it is ready.

Less rennet will make more of a sour cream; more will make a harder cheese. Proceed as above with the cutting, draining, and salting.

These cheeses can be packed into molds as well. I have layered garlic and black pepper, basil and sun dried tomatoes, or chopped jalapenos. I also will mix those things into the cheese when I add the salt and hang it for a little while, then pack it into containers. Fresh herbs and peppers can go bad rather quickly so always date your containers and treat them accordingly.





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