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Cowgirl Creamery Cooks


Cowgirl Creamery Cooks
by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith
Chronicle Books, 2013

"We eat a lot of cheese in the United States. Per capita, each of us eats about a pound of cheese per week, most of it grated over fast-food pizza or melted over grilled ground beef in the form of a cheeseburger. This cheese comes mostly from post-World War II factories that churn out as much as one million pounds of cheese per day with the goal of producing food as cheaply as possible."
Cowgirl Creamery Cooks

Cowgirl Creamery is an artisan cheesemaker that emerged in Point Reyes, California in the 1990s at a time when American consumers were starting to seek out alternatives to mass produced foods. This book tells the story of their struggles, achievements, and the rise of farmstead cheeses in this country.




In addition, it offers insights into the process of cheesemaking along with advice on selecting, tasting, pairing and enjoying the expanding universe of cheeses. Recipes for a wide range of cheese-based dishes are included, from appetizers and salads to entrees and desserts, showcasing not only artisanal cow cheeses but those made from goat-milk and sheep-milk as well.  Many kitchen tips are thrown into the mix for things like making breadcrumbs, steeping a vanilla syrup, storing cheeses, and making fromage at home. Look in the back of the book for a glossary to unfamiliar terms.

Making Your Own Fromage Blanc at Home

The milk for cheesemaking needs to be fresh - no older than 48 hours. Ask at your grocery store when milk is delivered and try to buy it the same day. You will need two pots for this recipe: an 8-qt/7.5-L pot for the milk and a 2-qt/2-L pot for the buttermilk. Including crème fraîche adds aricher flavor and smoother consistency.

4 qt fresh whole milk
4 cups pasteurized buttermilk
1 drop Rennet
2 tsp Kosher salt
½ cup crème fraîche (optional)

In an 8-qt/7.5-L pot, heat the fresh whole milk to 90°F/32°C.

In the 2-qt/2-L pot, heat the buttermilk to 90°F/32°C. Gently stir the buttermilk into the whole milk. While still stirring, add the rennet. Stir gently for two minutes, making sure that the rennet and buttermilk are evenly distributed.

Take the pot off the heat, cover it, and wrap it in a large towel to keep the milk at a stable temperature. Let the wrapped pot rest in a warm place for 10 to 12 hours.

By morning, the milk should have set and will have the texture of a very firm yoghurt.




Cheese Making Kit for Soft Cheese
Cheese Making Kit for Soft Cheese




Line a colander with cheesecloth or muslin and rest it over a large pot. Using a mug or plastic tub, scoop the curd in the colander and allow to drain for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours, until the curds have drained to a soft, smooth consistency. When they are ready, turn the curds into a stainless-stell mixing bowl and add the salt. Stir in the crème fraîche (if using). Store in an airtight, nonreactive container made of plastic, glass, or stainless steel. The cheese will keep in your refrigerator for up to 10 days but is best eaten within a few days.


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