This is a good, plain, white cheese that can be easily made without any special equipment in one leisurely afternoon. It is close to the Mexican queso fresco. Its taste improves the day after, as it gets more compact. Eat it plain with some bread; or serve it with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh herbs. In Lebanon, it’s called jean ballad (country cheese)
INGREDIENTS and supplies: The quantity will yield about 6 balls of cheese.
Recipe is adapted from Linda Dalal Sawaya’s Alice’s kitchen
- 1 Large gallon-size bowl
- 1 large colander or sieve
- 1 cheesecloth or cotton muslin and several small ones (8in squares approximately) to squeeze the cheese (about a dozen)
- 1 8-quart stainless steel or enamel-lined pot to cook the milk in
- 1 small ramequin to crush the rennet tablet in
- 1 Gallon of whole organic milk (if possible)
- 1 rennet tablet
- 1 Tablespoon of salt
- 2 Tablespoons of extra milk (for mixing with the rennet)
- 1 tray to place the formed cheese balls
- 1 glass bowl with a cover or plastic wrap to store the cheese
- Let the milk sit at room temperature for at least one hour; (it needs to be at room temperature)
- Crush the rennet tablet in small ramequin with 2 tablespoons of milk and set aside.
- Heat the gallon of milk till warm in the pot. Add the rennet dissolved in milk and stir with a large spoon or whisk. Remove the milk from heat, cover the pot and let the milk mixture stand for 2 hours undisturbed.
- Heat the milk again until the mixture curdles; stir the mixture frequently and keep heating it until the whey appears (the clear liquid when the milk separates). At this point, you will pour the milk carefully into the colander that is draped with a cheesecloth.
- NOTE: Keep the whey that collects underneath if you wish to make areesheh, a ricotta-type cheese later on.
- Scoop out a generous amount of curds (careful, it is HOT) and place on a smaller piece of cheesecloth; enclose the cheese curds and squeeze the ball to press out as much liquid as possible. Place the ball of cheese on a glass tray. Continue with the remaining curds until all have been formed into cheese balls.
- Sprinkle salt on the cheese balls and let them sit at room temperature for one hour till cool; press them some more to squeeze even more water out and store them in the fridge in a glass bowl covered in plastic wrap or a cover. The cheese can be served right away, but it will taste better the next day.
NOTE: The cheese will keep for 7 days refrigerated.
You can use goat milk instead.
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