Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I'm Feeling Cheesy...


So I've teased you all a bit, calling my next endeavor The Great Cream Cheese Experiment of 2017!! Well, it was and continues to be an experiment...could roll over to 2018 in fact. Some of you may know that I made a batch of cream cheese earlier this month and it tasted like sour cream, not cream cheese...very GOOD sour cream mind you! But my love for cream cheese was calling me...so I tried again. 


I was slightly discouraged, but as usual Alex lifted my motivation. He suggested we make two different recipes together. Our first cheese making as a couple! :) The recipes are basically similar, but we used different cultures: buttermilk and mesophilic. (More on Rainy Day Cheese Making).


The cat barrier while we slept. It actually worked, we figured if anything, a loud bang would alert us to feline sneaky behaviour! Cream cheese is easy to make, it just takes a lot of ripening time and "hanging" time to release the whey - a good few days. My big problem is that I LOVE Philadelphia cream cheese a lot. I can't recreate it with just a cream cheese recipe. Both cream cheeses still tasted like sour cream, although the buttermilk version was creamier and less tangy. So I went online to see what I could do about it.


I started with the buttermilk cream cheese. I whisked together the cream cheese (which was 3 1/2 cups), 1 cup of vanilla yogurt and 2 tsp of salt (I found this recipe on several sites). 


I let it drain about an hour, hanging as above, then let it sit in the fridge overnight. Verdict? Sweeter, but not Philadelphia by any means...and too creamy for a hard cream cheese that I can spread a little thickly on a bagel. It had the consistency of a dip rather than a cream cheese.


But I'm making lemonade out of lemons again! My friend Tammie Lee suggested Boursin type cheeses to me. Here is a nice recipe for those herbed/flavoured cheeses, but you can basically add anything you want to it. I decided to make a Chive "Boursin" and a Sweet Cranberry "Boursin". Oooooooooooooooooooh! Success! They were SO GOOD!


I made an event out of it! Homemade bread, the home baked pita chips and some breaded shrimp made the meal very special! You can see what the Boursins look like before I mixed them all up.


We also opened the last Camembert that has been aging 6 weeks. We honestly didn't taste a difference between the 4-week and the 6-week, they were both delicious!


My latest bloomy whites are a week away from being wrapped and aged. They are forming some beautiful white fuzzy mould, it's glorious! :) Two new Cams, ready for Christmas!


With ups come downs. :(  This is what's left of my Baby Swiss. The mould problem was so bad that I made the decision to cut it all out. I lost about half the wheel...but...I remind myself that cheese making is a learning curve and an art. I realize I don't have a proper mold for this type of cheese nor a cheese press, so this is an experiment. This will be sealed on December 10th and aged about 3 months then we'll see!


I got some more Yogurt done today. I found a much simpler recipe that requires no bacteria culture other than some leftover yogurt you have in the fridge. One liter of milk makes one liter of yogurt or so, I'm making one of these a week now so they don't spoil. 


Are you wondering what I did with the mesophilic cream cheese? Well...I'll be honest, I had no clue what to do with it! Three and a half more cups of "sour cream" to use up...Sandi asked if my experiment had to do with cheesecake, so she motivated me to make one! I did the same thing as I did with the other cream cheese...added yogurt and salt and it sweetened it up. Then I made a Cranberry Cheesecake.  Lemonade out of lemons again! I admit I haven't tried this yet, but it looks and smells delicious, we'll be tasting it tonight after dinner. If I don't stop baking we won't fit through the door anymore...is that a good excuse to stay home?  :)

43 comments:

Jenn said...

Oooh cream cheese! I looooove Boursin cheese. I could probably live happily on cheese and crackers.
I bet the cranberry cheesecake will be awesome!! Enjoy.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

I LOVE the Boursin cheeses!! Yummm!! I may try that too! So many cheese recipes - so little time! :) That cranberry cheesecake looks divine! I like anything with cranberries so I am sure this is really good!

Love the cat barrier! Hilarious! :)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

It all looks good to me!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Oh that looks so good!

laurie said...

my oh my that cheese cake looks amazing!!! I wonder if you had a press to get more moisture out if it wouldn't get moldy? Maybe Santa should bring a press lol,, you're ambition for keeping everything homemade is wonderful, I share that passion but I have only ever made yogurt and then yogurt cheese,, I haven't yet tried making cheese but you sure are an inspiration,, it all looks amazing!!!

Kristina said...

I really miss our buttermilk cream cheese. It all looks great Rain!

Christine said...

The cheesecake looks delicious, hope it tastes good too! The cheesemaking sure sounds like an art, not easy. You are learning a lot.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Well that's it then... Once you start making cheese together, the relationship is solid :)

Everything always looks so good at your place! I want to reach into the screen and taste stuff. Haha

I laughed out loud with the cat barrier! One of my cats is so graceful with the way she walks and jumps that she'd probably find a way in there without making a sound...lol.

You are right about the cheese making being an art with a learning curve. I personally think you are doing incredible. I'm glad Alex is so supportive and encouraging. We all need a little of that when we get down or our motivation is low.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

My experience with homemade cream cheese is also that it is very thick. It does make a lovely dessert with honey drizzled on it though.

Leigh said...

I love the cat barrier!!! But, you do what you gotta do. :) I so agree that learning to make cheeses is a learning curve. Very interesting about the cream cheeses and I love the idea of cranberry cheesecake! Now I know what to do with the fresh cranberry sauce I'll have leftover from tomorrow. :)

jaz@octoberfarm said...

your cheeses always look so good. maybe one of these days when i have the time!

Guillaume said...

So hungry now! I love cheese and olives! Cream cheese I have this on bagels, with smoked salmon, capers and the rest. Montreal bagel of course.

baili said...

Oh this is making me HUNGRY :)

you are wonderful at your skills of "NEVER GIVE" so i am gald that this time you were successful .
this one looks GREAT!

Harry Flashman said...

Rain, all that looks so good. One of the best things about making your own cheese, is you always have plenty of it for the two of you, and you can have whatever you want! We have to just take what our grocery store has on offer, and it's never anything as nice as what you have. We could go to the deli in our grocery store, I guess, but those cheeses cost a fortune for just a little tiny bit!

Tammie Lee said...

It all looks so good! Yum. So inspiring.
I smiled when i saw your cheeses hanging in the kitchen. I also had one hanging, Boursin for today. So glad you were happy with that recipe.
Wishing you a lovely day and yummy meals!

Pam Jackson said...

Such a cheesy post!!! haha....I love it. I have just started making bread lately for the first time but I don't think I will jump off into the cheese making world. I will leave that to you for sure. Looks great for sure. Hoping you all had a great day yesterday.

Nicole Thomas said...

OooOooooO that cheesecake !!! * drool*

Ruth said...

My work has tiny little wine fridges on sale as part of the Black Friday set. They're half the size of a regular mini fridge tiny! But they have adjustable temperature from 30 something to 60 something. And no one was buying them. If they sit long enough corporate will mark them down further, and then I might just snatch one up and try cheese making again. I tried it once before, but I haven't a good place to age them and couldn't find a fridge cheap enough to be worth modifying.

Sam I Am...... said...

Cranberry cheesecake? Sounds like the perfect dessert for Christmas day! Your persistence will pay off and already has with your cheese making and I admire the fact that you don't waste anything....the boursins look so yummy with the shrimp and all your other homemade goodies! Glad the cats didn't get any cheese....but what about mice? LOL!

Rain said...

NOTE: The cranberry cheesecake was very cranberry...slightly sour! I updated the recipe with that note in case anyone wants to try it!

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) Me too! I could live on cheese and bread, but with some wine and chocolate too ! :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :) You can make the Boursins with Philly cheese. The link I provided on my post is just one of many recipes out there!

Rain said...

Thanks Debra :)

Rain said...

Thanks Gill :)

Rain said...

Hi Laurie :) YES....if I had a press I would have a lot more success!!! And the right sized mold. I have a nice mold for the Cheddars, but for bigger cheeses like the Swisses, I need a medium sized one...I used a very large one, thus all the cracks in it. A press and lots more cheese supplies is on my Santa list for sure! :) I have yet to try yogurt cheese myself. It's kind of an addiction when you start!!! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Kristina :)

Rain said...

Thanks Christine :) I am definitely learning a lot. I was very ambitious when I started, and I'm slowing down a little bit now. But right now I know the Cams are good, and the Cheddars...well, we'll find out at Christmas how they turned out without all that rotten coating!

Rain said...

Hi Martha :) Ha! If I can only get Alex to knit with me now, lol...The cat barrier is ridiculous lol...but so necessary! That's funny about your cat. We have one cat, I call him "Large Leo" among other names...he THINKS he's graceful...not so lol...And thanks, Alex is very motivating, I get really discouraged when my cooking and baking creations don't meet my standards...Alex always helps me see things clearly! :)

Rain said...

Hi TB :) Yes, the cream cheese was very thick. I tried to thin it out with the yogurt and it still got very thick in the fridge. But it did work well for the Boursins.

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) Lol...it also worked as a Pavlov-barrier. That dog is big but he's stealthy lol...The cheesecake was a bit sour, I didn't sweeten up the cranberries enough! But it makes a great flavour companion to cream cheese for sure!

Rain said...

Hi Joyce :) When you have the time...I don't know how you'll fit in cheese making with your busy schedule! But I hope you do, it's really fun and rewarding!

Rain said...

Hi Guillaume :) YES...Montreal bagels are the ONLY bagels!!! :) I guess you can't really have them shipped out to you! Cheese and olives are a great flavour combination! I should have mixed some into the cream cheese for an olive Boursin! Next time, thanks for the idea! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Baili :) I'm trying to find the right recipe for the cream cheese! My whole goal is to buy as little from the stores as I can for the future. :)

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) Thanks! I agree, I need to know what's in all of our food now...Alex and I have tender digestions and we find that the more we eat store-bought food, the more we suffer. Living in Quebec has a (very lol) few good points...one is cheese. We are a cheese-loving province so we get lots of goodies from France here. They aren't cheap, but not too expensive either so once in a while we have a nice treat until I can figure out how to make those cheeses. I have the Camembert down pat, I'm so proud of myself! Now I have to work more on the Swisses, for our fondue nights! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Tammie Lee :) You inspired ME to make the Boursins! :) I hope you enjoyed your Boursin too!

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) I'm glad you like my cheesy post lol! I'm happy you started the bread making! There is nothing like homemade bread, but it goes stale so quickly I find, if I know we don't have too many bready meals planned, I put half in the freezer right away, or it all goes to the birds!

Rain said...

Thanks Nik :)

Rain said...

Hi Ruth :) Oh, that's a great idea! I hope those little fridges go on sale. I was lucky that Alex had the "bar" fridge before I met him. We used to keep sodas and beers in there, but now it's all cheese! I hope you try the cheesemaking, it's really fun and rewarding! :)

Rain said...

Hi Sam :)) All the little goodies I make are usually very yummy, I just have to make sure I don't make too much lol...we are "waste not, want not" types and we'll eat until we're stuffed! The cheesecake was slightly sour, but it was still good. Next time I need to sweeten those cranberries more though. We DO have mice lol...but the cats keep those away so it's a good balance! :))

Susan said...

My goD, I feel like diving mouth first into that cheesecake! I think you have a knack for cheesemaking - you have really done a fabulous job!

Stefanie said...

You are always in motion in your kitchen. Amazing and wonderful. I drool over your cheeses.

Rain said...

Lol Susan...I think you'd have been surprised, it turned out rather sour! :) And thanks, I'm enjoying the fruits of my cheese making labour! I just need some more supplies to really get into it! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Stefanie :) I need to keep busy and I love to eat! :) Good combination for motivating me to cook!