Friday, May 25, 2012

Homemade Mascarpone

I know the kind of posts I should be writing.  Spring vegetables.  Memorial day grilling recipes.  You know, something seasonally appropriate.  I am not always so timely with my discoveries of regular with my writing routine.  This blog is my foodie journal writing and I suppose this is just where I find myself today, making cheese.

I am not sure why I want make cheese.  It isn't because it is difficult for me to acquire great artisanal cheeses of every variety.....from New York.  I think it is the beautiful science of it.  The slow thickening of liquid to cream or curd.  I like the slow ceremony of it: sterilizing, setting up the equipment, the quiet waiting and watching.  It forces me to slow down and stay in a moment.  Then the reward, a lighter, brighter milk and tang taste, with every bite a reminder of where cheese actually comes from.

I am starting small here.  Mascarpone is a mild, soft cheese and requires no major investments from a cheese making supply company. Although, butter muslin is not a bad idea since you may loose too much of this cheese through regular cheese cloth.  If you haven't had it, mascarpone is not unlike cream cheese.

This recipe is from Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin.  If you are thinking it might be nice to make cheese at home than you should definitely start with this book.  Karlin does such a wonderful job with breaking down types of cheeses, equipment you will need, vocabulary and where to get cheese-making supplies that, if you were ever intimidated, you will feel confident in trying these out at home.

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup evaporated dry milk
Mary Karlin stresses that you have your equipment sterilized before hand.  A good sanitizing solution is 4 liters of water to 1 tablespoon of bleach.  Also, that your whisk and spoon are a non-reactive metal.  Below is a list of the kitchen gear you will need.
  • 4 quart metal saucepan
  • heatproof glass bowl that will sit over the sauce pan
  • butter muslin or multiple layers of cheesecloth
  • wire whisk
  • metal spoon
  • kitchen thermometer
Whisk together the cream and evaporated milk in the glass bowl.  Add about 2 inches of water to the bottom of the saucepan and set the bowl on top. Turn the heat on medium low and switch to a metal spoon.  The stirring is important because the cream forms a skin.  The idea is that you want the temperature of the cream to rise slowly until it reaches 180 degrees F.  It should take 40 minutes, give or take a few. Once it reaches 180 degrees, remove from the heat.  Slowly squeeze in juice from the lemon while stirring, one half at a time.  Refrigerate eight hours or overnight.  Strain your cheese in a colander through butter muslin (or about 5 layers of cheese cloth) to remove any excess moisture.  The mascarpone is now ready to eat.  It will last for about 2 days.

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