Making farmers cheese is a really cool first recipe to try your hand at cheese making. It's incredibly versatile as you can add in anything you have on hand to doctor it up. Stir in some herbs, different salts, and spices to make your own custom cheeses. While I have never used non-dairy milk to make this farmers cheese, I have used goat milk to make a fresh, spreadable goat cheese.
To start, slowly heat up 1 gallon of whole milk to 180-190 degrees. Stirring occasionally, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, so the milk doesn't scald. Do not let the milk get hotter than 190 or you'll kill off the good bacteria that we need for our cheese.
As your milk heats up, dampen some cheese cloth and wring out any excess water, this will prevent your curds from sticking to your cheese cloth. Line a colander with your damp cheese cloth and set the colander in a bowl.
Once your milk has reached temperature, turn off the heat, add in 2/3 cup of distilled white vinegar and gift your milk one final stir. Let this mixture sit untouched for 5-10 minutes.
Once your curds and whey have separated, pour the mixture into your cheesecloth. Let the curds sit for a little bit to allow the whey to naturally drain. You don't want to squeeze or wring the whey out of the curd mixture. The more you let it drain, the more of a crumbly texture your cheese will have. If you press the curds underneath a cast iron pan, or any other heavy thing you have in your kitchen, you'll end up with queso fresco. The less whey you drain from your mixture, the creamier you're cheese will be.
I mixed my farmers cheese with some orange zest and crumbled into whip cream to top this orange French Toast.
Other options for your cheese include fresh or fried herbs, any spice you have on hand, or different types of salt. Smoked Maldon sea salt is a favorite of mine!
If you recreate this recipe or make your own cheese creation, The Chopping Block would love to see what you come up with. Take a picture and tag us in social media!
Our Owner/Chef Shelley Young also describes the cheese making process at home in her four part blog series. Read them all here!