Farmer’s Cheese

Also known as ‘fromage blanc’, farmer’s cheese is extremely easy to make and easily replaces such items as cream cheese or cottage cheese.  And while there are slightly more complicated recipes out there on the net this one is the easiest for a modern kitchen to manage if, say, you wanted to walk into the kitchen this very instant and give it a try.

Things you will need:

Freshest milk you can manage, whole will taste best
Active-culture buttermilk
Lemon juice or vinegar
Heavy-bottomed pan


1 quart of your milk of choice
1 c. active-culture buttermilk
2 tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt or to taste

I’ll go into culturing your own buttermilk in a later post, I’m afraid it is necessary for this process.  At least this recipe does not call for ‘rennet’, which is the necessary chemical in making harder cheeses.  If anyone would like the recipe for farmer’s cheese made with rennet, let me know.

It helps if you have a heavy-bottomed pan, meaning there is a thick pad of metal on the bottom of the pan you’re using, this helps distribute heat more consistently when you’re trying to make cheese. Apparently aluminum is not a good choice for cheese making, stainless steel or enameled would be best.

Pour in your milk and stir it consistently so that it doesn’t burn, bringing the milk to 175 degrees Farenheit.  You will know when you’re getting close about the time there’s steam and little bubbles on the rim of the milk.  A thermometer will do you best, however.  At this point, pour in your buttermilk and lemon juice and turn off the heat, continuously stirring gently.  You’ll see it begin to break down into curds and whey, if it hasn’t after thirty seconds add in a little more lemon juice.  Set aside to settle, undisturbed, for ten minutes.

In the meantime, grab your colander or strainer (a colander will not let whey out as quickly, this only means the process will take a bit longer), set it in the sink and line it with your cheesecloth (my main source site uses four layers.) A handkerchief would work, likely in a single layer, since it has a finer weave than cheesecloth.  Gently pour or ladle your curds and whey into the lined strainer and allow it to drain for roughly five minutes.  Gather up your cheesecloth and tie a piece of string around the neck, and then said neck to a wooden spoon that will be set across the mouth of your pot.  Let it hang in your pot (nothing should be touching the draining cheese except at the neck from which it hangs) and allow the whey to drain for another half hour.  When you unravel your cheesecloth you will have soft cheese.  Go ahead and salt your cheese now, mixing it in, and mold it should you choose.  You may also add herbs to it if you like.  The cheese is edible right away, or you can chill it before hand.

Interesting note: the whey can be saved to make ricotta (to be an article later).  This is a very similar process to making ‘labneh’, a middle-eastern cheese made from yogurt.  Now, enjoy!


When I have first-hand experience, I will add more information!  Woohoo!

When I have first-hand experience, I will add more information! Woohoo!




Chef John

Image courtesy of AFTouch.


1 Comment

  1. エリン said,

    August 24, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I especially like how easy you make it sound to make cheese. I always thought it would be a difficult process, you know? I may have to try it now, one day!

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