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Appetizers, Economical, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Rosemary Garlic Farmers Cheese

by Nick

Most cheeses are pretty hard to make at home. A good friend of mine is a very solid cook and experimenter and one year I remember him trying to make cheddar cheese in his kitchen. The results where somewhere between rotten dairy and deadly fungus. There are a lot of variables that go into cheese making and some of them are super-hard to control in most home kitchens.

But not every cheese is hard to make at home. In fact, on the other end of the spectrum, there are a few cheeses that are insanely easy to make at home. When homemade cheese won the poll last week, I knew I would be doing one of these softer fresh cheeses.

Yield
About 2 cups of cheese
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Rosemary Garlic Farmers Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large lemon, juice only
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt

Helpful Equipment

    Directions

    1) Wrap roughly chopped garlic and rosemary in cheesecloth. Don't wrap it too tight, you want the liquid to be able to circulate around it. Tie off the top though so it stays in a bundle.

    2) Bring milk to a simmer in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in herb bundle as it heats and stir it into the milk. Stir the milk frequently as it heats to prevent scalding.

    3) Once milk is simmering lightly (don't bring it to a rapid boil), remove herb bundle and immediately stir in lemon juice. Stir and remove from heat.

    4) Let milk sit for 10 minutes so the curds can form.

    5) Line a colander with a double layer of cheese cloth and carefully pour liquid through colander. The curds will separate from the whey. Let it drain for 10-15 minutes to make sure as much liquid as possible is drained off.

    6) Start gathering up cheesecloth and applying pressure to the curds. Gently squeeze out as much liquid as you can. I recommend squeezing the cheesecloth and then putting a heavy bowl on top of the cheese to apply constant pressure. Let that sit for 15-20 minutes. (Not you can keep pressing the cheese and make it very firm, but I like mine soft.)

    7) Unwrap cheese and season with a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and rosemary. Stir together gently. Place cheese in a serving bowl or chill for later. Garnish cheese with extra rosemary and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crackers or bread.

    The Herb Package

    Making this cheese at home is pretty sexy. It doesn’t take long to make and the final results are soft and rich and best served warm in my opinion.

    Since you need to slowly heat up the milk to start the cheese, I thought I would take that opportunity to add in some flavors.

    package

    Measuring isn’t really important.

    I very roughly chopped some rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves and then wrapped them in cheesecloth. You want them to be pretty loosely wrapped so the liquid can circulate through the herb packet.

    Then just tie off the packet with a bit of kitchen twine or a thin piece of cheesecloth.

    tied

    Ready to go.

    Making the Cheese

    I recommend using a full gallon of WHOLE milk for this recipe. Otherwise you might not end up with enough cheese to really make it worth it.

    Add the milk to a large pot and get it going over medium to medium-high heat. Add in the herb packet right at the beginning. Stir this frequently as it heats up to move around the herb packet and also prevent scorching.

    simmering

    This will smell good, unless you burn it.

    Once the milk is start to simmer, but not boil, it’s ready for the next step. This should take 10-15 minutes ideally.

    Remove the herb packet and stir in the lemon juice. The acid from the lemon juice will separate the curds from the whey. It’s very important that the milk is very hot for this step.

    lemon

    Science!

    Stir in the lemon juice and you’ll immediately see the science happening.

    curd

    Tiny curds at first…

    Let this sit off the heat though for 10 minutes to make sure that your curds are well formed.

    Then pour the contents into a colander that has been double-lined with cheesecloth. Let this drain slowly.

    draining

    Let this drain slowly.

    The Whey!

    What drains off from this process is called whey and it’s far from useless. Here are 16 fun ways to use whey if you want to save it.

    Meanwhile, when your curds have drained off, gently press out as much of the liquid as you can. If you press too hard though you’ll force the curds through the cheesecloth (not good).

    What I like to is pull the cheesecloth into a little bundle and then put a heavy bowl on the bundle for 10-15 minutes. The weight from the bowl will gently press out a good amount of liquid.

    press

    Press to your liking.

    You can press this to your heart’s content. Obviously, the more you press it, the firmer it will get.

    For my version though, I left it semi-soft so it’s nice and spreadable. This was my finished soft cheese.

    done

    Nice and soft.

    I seasoned it with some kosher salt, minced rosemary, and coarsely ground black pepper. I stirred about 1/2 teaspoon of herbs and pepper into the cheese.

    seasoning

    Pepper and herbs.

    When you’re ready to serve the cheese, drizzle it with some olive oil and sprinkle with a bit more rosemary and pepper on top.

    Serve with nice crackers!

    crackers

    Super yum.

    This is one of those recipes that I think would be really fun for kids to make. You could learn a bit about how curds form, make it, and have a great snack!

    Personally, a few of these crackers and a decent glass of wine makes for a pretty great happy hour in my book.

    Has anyone made fresh cheese like this? Leave a comment (or link) with what you’ve tried!

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    18 comments on “Rosemary Garlic Farmers Cheese

    1. This looks awesome, and pretty easy! A friend of mine made cheese once and I remember it being much more of a production than this. I feel like this could be a nice Saturday afternoon project. I’ll be trying it soon, thank you!

    2. The hubs made Farmer’s Cheese two years ago for Xmas presents. It was SO GOOD. He just made it plain, then put it in a jar with the fresh herbs and olive oil. Man, now I wish I had some for breakfast. :)

    3. YES!! I make homemade ricotta all the time, really the same thing as farmers cheese, only I use citric acid instead of lemon juice, we have meyer lemons growing here, and they aren’t as acidic as other lemons, so to have control over the curdmaking, I use citric acid.
      I have also made fresh mozzarella. I use Rikki Carroll’s book: Home Cheesemaking, and her website: http://www.cheesemaking.com, has all kinds of recipes and supplies to make all kinds of cheese, yogurt, kefir, etc. No affiliation, just a happy customer!!

      I also use the whey to make pizza dough, the last gallon of milk that I made into ricotta, made 14 dough balls, as I was determined to use all the whey!! We have fresh dough balls in the freezer now, just take one out the night before, let thaw in the fridge and pizza for dinner the next night!! Also make calzones out of this dough and use the ricotta!! If I had a good cool place, Iwould try hard cheeses.

    4. I have made this (I have Rikki Carroll’s book, too, and love it) but instead of putting a bowl on top of the cheese to firm it up, I attached a string to the ball of cheese, hung it from a hook over my sink and let it drain into a bowl overnight to catch the whey.

      I’ve tried making mozzarella, but ended up with a mess. Congrats to Lisa for succeeding.

      (I also have a cheddar cheese press I’ve never used, but given your warning about risking rotten dairy or deadly fungus, maybe I’ll sell it. ;-)

    5. I’ve made paneer many times…but never actually made the saag paneer intended because I ate the paneer. Oops. Now I can just made cheese and not feel guilty about the spinach.

    6. Nice! I love making ricotta/farmers cheese, but I’ve never thought to add flavorings to the milk. I’ll have to try that. I usually make crepes with leftover whey, or pancakes. It’s acidic like buttermilk so you can use it in a lot of the same ways. I like crepes best because you can just make a ton of them in one go and then freeze them in a stack (separated with slips of parchment paper), and if you wrap leftovers in crepes they become an entirely new and exciting meal: that’s just science.

    7. I made my first mozzarella over Christmas. It was so good still warm! I don’t have Rikki Carroll’s book, but I bought one of her kits (it has everything you need (except the milk) to make 30 batches for about $25! You just have to use milk that has not been ultra-pasteurized (I used some non-homogenized, low-temp pasteurized milk from a local dairy). I loved the kit, but recommend using a better thermometer than what it comes with. I think I let mine get a tad too hot (the gradations were in high increments…hard to be exact), but it was still good.

      For those who are brand new to cheese making, try yogurt cheese! That was my first foray into the field. You can add whatever herbs and spices you want, and it is a good sub for cream cheese (and pretty healthy to if you use the lower-fat variety greek yogurt).All you have to do is add your spices, place in some cheesecloth in a colander over a bowl to catch the whey, and let it do its thing!

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