Saturday, March 14, 2009

This is the recipe for Neufchatel (cream) cheese that you will find on the www.junketdessertsrecipes/cheeserecipe.aspx website. It is designed to be made with regular fresh milk. As you read through the post, you’ll findhow I adapted it to using non-instant powdered milk in italicized text. The equipment list is actually mine.

This is a soft, spreadable cheese originated in France and is eaten fresh. Sometimes called " farmer's" cheese, think if it as a low fat cream cheese which can eaten on crackers straight or mixed with seasonings, used in cheese cake, folded into omelets, etc.


1 gallon milk or 3 c. water + 2 c. non-instant powdered milk

1/4 cup culture buttermilk (fresh)

1/4 tablet Junket Rennet tablet, dissolved in ¼ c. cool water


Things you will need:

· Stainless steel pan or bowl with cover.

· Thermometer that goes down to 45° (I love my digital)
Stainless spoon or whisk for stirring.

· Stainless steel or plastic quart size strainer.

· Small strainer.

· Stainless steel knife for cutting curd.

· Good timer.

· Yogurt or buttermilk (I’ve had best luck with Shamrock brand)

· Time and patience, in bits and pieces.

· Cheese Cloth

o it’s best if you pay a little more and it has a denser weave.

o even better … I found a 100% polyester drapery fabric that is the best ever. I have used it several times, it washes up so well and doesn’t get embedded with the soft cheese curd.


· Mix 3 c. water with 2 cups milk powder in blender. Pour milk into the presterilized stainless steel pot and let it sit for about a half hour. Scoop the foam off the surface the top with small strainer for a much smoother texture later!

· Warm to 65° F while stirring. I think this is pretty funny, my tap water is between 70° to 75°, but still works. This summer, I will have to chill the water!

· Meanwhile, dissolve 1/4 tablet rennet in 1/4 cup cool water.

· When the milk reaches 65° F, remove from heat, add buttermilk, whisk gently (avoid making foam) to mix thoroughly.

· Stir the dissolved rennet into the 65° F inoculated milk, blend thoroughly.

· Cover and let sit overnight undisturbed at room temperature (65° to 70 F, 20°C). Let it sit for a few hours with just the buttermilk before adding the rennet for a fuller flavor. My mixture usually sets up quite faster than the “overnight” after adding the rennet.

· If the coagulated milk is not firm enough, let it sit until it does, as long as another 12 hours.

· When a clean break is achieved, cut the curd into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut all the way

across, then again, perpendicular to the first cuts. Next cut sideways

with the knife at a slant.

· Ladle the curds and whey into a clean sterile cloth supported in a large strainer, placed over a large bowl. Allow the whey to drain through. If the cloth

becomes clogged, lift the cloth back and forth or scrape the curd away from the cloth . The lid is to prevent the cheese from drying out. (Save the whey for making ricotta or baking if you wish).

· When most of the whey has drained through, pick up the four corners of the cloth and suspend the curd in a cool place to drain overnight (from a shelf of the refrigerator if

you have room). The surface of the cheese dries fairly quickly, so cover it if you can by wrapping a plastic bag or towel loosely around it. If you want the cream cheese to be soft and creamy, just hang and drain it for a few hours, until the dripping is to once or twice per minute..

After draining, remove the cheese and mix in1- 3 teaspoons of salt, according to taste. It may be eaten immediately. I use 1 to 1 ½ t. salt in this smaller batch.

Store covered in the refrigerator until use. You may pack the cheese into a mold of your choice (a squat tin can with the ends removed for instance).

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