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June 2, 2012

Making a Stunning Neufchatel Cheese

You may be wondering why I'm not making cheese this spring? Well, the sad fact is that my cheese fridge died and now I don't have anywhere to age all that homemade cheese. I really don't have the extra money to replace it right now - especially since I've been spending up all my money on other things.

Isn't it stunning? You can make this at home!

So I've been making a lot of fresh cheeses that don't need to cure at 50*-60* with a specific humidity. One of my favorites is a French Neufchatel. Its fabulous. I have my blog pal, K, to thank for my love affair with neufchatel... he wrote about this cheese a while ago and I've been hooked every since.

When most folks think about neufchatel cheese they usually think of that horrible stuff beside the cream cheese boxes in the dairy section at the megagrocery...and not this stunning cheese lovingly handcrafted and shaped into hearts.  I wish I had a heart shaped mold but my round one is just fine.

The mold forms that white rind on this heavenly fresh cheese.

I found the recipe in my favorite cheesemaking book, 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes: From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt by Debra Amrein-boyes.  I like this book the best because it provides easy, clear directions and provides a lot of goat vs cow milk cheese recipes.

The recipe is a snap. Basically make your standard fresh goat milk cheese (chevre) and add a pinch of mold - penicillium candidum to be exact. You can order the mold at Leeners - my favorite cheese making supply shop.  Leeners provides superfast delivery, exceptional customer service, and just about everything you'd need to get your cheese making project underway. Everything but the goat, of course.

There are a couple steps in making this cheese - mostly making sure all the extra whey is out of the cheese and also "curing" it in the fridge until the mold rind forms on the outside. Then its nothing but heavenly snacking. Depending on how long you let this cheese rest - during the steps - this cheese can be very mild....or with a twangy stank - as I like it.  Its incredible with a snappy white wine and crusty homemade bread.

Got milk? Got the book? Go ahead and give this easy, moldy, creamy cheese a try.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Click here for a complete list of cheese making supplies.