A tasty cheese similar to cream cheese but with a bit more tang.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk (make sure it contains active cultures) or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried quark culture
- Heat the whole milk in a nonreactive, heavy-bottomed pan to 88 degrees. Let it stay at 88 degrees for 45 seconds.
- Remove from heat, cover, and let sit undisturbed until it reaches a temperature between 65 and 80 degrees.
- If using the dried culture, whisk it in. If using cultured buttermilk, stir it in.
- Put the lid back on and let it sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for 6 to 24 hours, or until you can get a clean break.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently move the curd into a colander set in a bowl lined with dampened cheesecloth, butter muslin, or coffee filters and let drain in the refrigerator until it has the desired consistency.
- Put in a covered container and refrigerate. It should keep up to 6 days.
Make sure everything used to make the cheese has been sterilized.
To check for a clean break, insert a very clean knife into the center. If the curd cleanly pulls back to expose the whey, you have a clean break. If the curd seeps back into the cut, it needs more time.
If you are using buttermilk, it may take closer to 24 hours than 6 to reach a clean break. Be patient.