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? :)