Creole Cream Cheese Recipe Instructions
Heat Milk & Add Culture
Add 1/4tsp calcium chloride solution to the milk and then warm to 70-80°F (I prefer to heat to 80°F and let it drop to room temp). You heat this by placing the pot of milk into another pot, or sink, of very warm water (100-120°F). If you do this in a pot on the stove, make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.
Once the milk is at the correct temperature, the culture can be added. To prevent the powder from caking and sinking in clumps, sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in. After the culture ha been mixed in well, cover the milk and allow it to sit quiet for 30 minutes. This will allow the bacteria to acclimate and get ready to do its work.
The milk can be allowed to slowly cool to room temperature (the warmth was to make the bacteria happy while coming out of its deep frozen sleep).
Add Rennet & Let Set
Once the milk has ripened, add 1/4 tsp of single strength liquid rennet and stir in for 1 minute using a gentle up and down motion. Allow the milk to become still.
In about 12-15 minutes you will note that the surface of the milk has thickened slightly. You can test this with the tip of a knife. The surface tension will have increased, leaving a dimple where the knife touches the milk surface. This is the beginning of coagulation and the milk will continue to become firmer as it develops it's acidity. When you see this, you are assured that your milk is on it's way to forming a good curd.
Keep covered and let sit quietly at room temperature for 12-15 hours while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd . The thermal mass of this milk should keep it warm during this period. It is OK if the temp drops a few degrees during this time.
Do not stir or move the milk or you will disturb the curd formation. The longer the milk sits, the firmer the cheese will be. You can also make this cheese more to your taste by controlling the amount of acid produced by using a longer or shorter time.
Cut & Drain Curds
When the curd has become firm enough (you will find that it has a few cracks in it and separates from the edge) and the acidity has developed sufficiently (lactose converted to lactic acid), it is time to drain the whey.
Prepare the curd by initially making vertical cuts about one inch apart and then repeating at right angles to the initial cuts. The result will be a checkerboard pattern and the whey will begin to rise to the surface from these cuts. Let this rest for a few minutes to release whey.
Meanwhile, line a colander (large enough to hold the gallon of curd and whey) with sanitized Butter Muslin.
Using a slotted spoon or ladle, transfer your curd into the colander to begin the initial whey drainage. Allow this to drain into a pot so that the whey can be collected for other uses (this whey can make a very refreshing drink as is or mixed with fruit juices).
This draining will continue for 1-2 hours while some of the whey drains off. You can use a shorter time for a moister cheese and longer time for a drier cheese.
Form the Cheese
Prepare several cheese molds by sanitizing. Begin filling the forms in a round-robin fashion. Gently transfer the curds using a ladle or spoon to the prepared molds. These should be placed inside a plastic box or pan to collect the whey that will be released. Here I use a sink rack to set the forms on with a whey collection pot below them.
Once all of the curds have been ladled into forms, allow them to continue draining for another 16-24 hours at room temperature. Again, the longer it drains the drier the finished cheese.
As the whey drains the cheeses will drop in the molds and should be covered loosely with Butter Muslin as they sit. There are many different shapes and sized cheese molds that you can choose from so be sure to have fun with your selection.
Once the cheese has drained it should be transferred to a fridge in the molds until ready to use (the cold will also allow them to firm up).
This is a fresh cheese so it should be eaten fresh. When ready it can be un-molded or scooped into a bowl (if using larger forms), a little cream poured over the top, and even a little sugar or honey to balance that zingy flavor. A little home preserve or fresh fruit might also be nice.
At this point your imagination is your only limitation. Traditionally they kept it simple, but no reason you can not experiment a little.
It should last for a week to 10 days but sooner is better for this cheese.