yummy french berries and fromage blanc
Some of the food we ate while we lived in France are just memories, but some of it we have painstakingly recreated back home.
Fromage Blanc is one of those, and also one of our favorite foods. It is delightfully easy to make and even more fun to eat.
It is something that might be related to our cottage cheese (if it was smooth), or yogurt, or a very loose cream cheese. Depends on who you ask. All I know is that once we discovered it, we ate it everyday, often with berries that were sublime.
Fromage Blanc is easy to make but expensive to buy here in the U.S. Vermont Butter and Cheese has one as does Cypress Grove Cheese in California. Neither taste like French Fromage Blanc though.
To make it, order the Fromage Blanc starter from New England Cheese Making Company along with the cheesecloth to drain the stuff.
Get a gallon of whole milk from the store. Heat it up in a large pot to about 78-80 degrees. Mix in the starter until dissolved (about 2 minutes), cover and let sit for about 14 hours on the stove top or counter.
Using a cheesecloth lined colander with a pot or large bowl under it, spoon the mixture into the colander and cover. Refrigerate and let it drain for about 4 hours, but no more than 6.
Pour or dump into a large bowl and whisk it until it is smooth, free from lumps. Use some of the liquid (whey) if it seems to dry to you. It should resemble the consistency of Greek Yogurt or sour cream.
If it looks like cream cheese you left it too long and you will want to stir some of the whey back in to the mixture. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. It makes about a quart plus and it lasts about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. It only gets more ripe, and that is not a bad thing.
Serve with berries or other fruit. I like it with bananas or honey. People in France serve it often for dessert with fruit or a honey topping.