Courtesy Matthew Benson
Fromage Facile is a mild, creamy, multiuse cheese that is simply great to have on hand. Its name means “easy cheese” in French, and it is easy to make, easy to use and easily one of my all-time favorite cheeses. The buttermilk gives it a slight tang, and the result is something between cream cheese and ricotta.
Coagulation is swift and visually dramatic for this cheese, making it impressive to make with kids or for dinner guests (double the recipe for a crowd). The process is low stress and gratifying.
I love dipping garden-grown veggies in a dish of Fromage Facile, but you can also use it for baking—or spreading on breakfast pastries. Alternatively, shape the cheese into a log and cover it with dry herbs; it makes a lovely and delicious hostess gift to bring to a party!
Ready to Eat In: 30 minutes
Biggest Pain: Squeezing and straining fresh lemon juice.
Uses: Great cream cheese, herbed dip, dessert cheese.
Recommended Milk: 1 quart whole cow’s milk and 1 cup cultured buttermilk
Worth Mentioning: Finding cultured buttermilk (acidic) is important for coagulation
Yield: 6 ounces
- medium colander or mesh strainer
- fine cheesecloth
- large heat-resistant bowl (optional, for whey collection)
- 2-quart stockpot
- cooking thermometer
- large mixing spoon
- 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 teaspoon
- parchment paper
- 1 quart (4 cups) whole cow’s milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 cup cultured buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon flake salt (or to taste)
- herbs (to taste; optional)
Line the colander with wet or dry cheesecloth wet or dry. Place a bowl underneath if you want to collect the whey; otherwise, place the lined colander in your clean sink.
Pour the quart of cow’s milk into the pot. Then heat the milk at medium to 175 degrees F. Stay close and monitor the heat, stirring every few minutes to prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the milk. Check, too, for sticking milk at the bottom of the pot. (Reduce the heat if you feel any milk sticking.)
When the milk temperature hits 175 degrees F, add the buttermilk and lemon juice and stir thoroughly. You should start seeing some coagulation! Once you’ve completely stirred in the buttermilk and lemon juice, take the pot off the heat. Leave it undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Return to the cooling pot. You will clearly see a separation between curds and whey now. Stir the curds gently for a few seconds just to check out the change in texture. Then pour the curds and whey into the cloth-lined colander.
Allow the curds to drain until they resemble thick oatmeal; it should take just 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the salt.
Pack the cheese into a paper-lined dish to form it into a wheel. Flip the dish onto the serving platter and peel away the paper. Your Fromage Facile is ready to eat!
Variations and Substitutions
- Mix in fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes (no oil), or pickled jalapeños to make a nice bagel spread.
- Add currants, diced dried apricots, or any other dried fruit you enjoy.
- Cool the cheese in a jar and gift it!
Try Facile Fromage in No-Bake Cheese Tartlets!
About the Author: Claudia Lucero is the entrepreneur behind UrbanCheeseCraft.com ad DIY Cheese Kits, and the developer of Williams-Sonoma’s home cheesemaking kits. She lives in Portland, Ore.
Recipe excerpted from One-Hour Cheese (2014) with permission of Workman Publishing.