Adapted from Cheesemaking Made Easy, by Ricki Carroll and Robert Carroll.

Fromage blanc is a fresh, easy-to-make cheese. Of French origin, its name simply means "white cheese." It makes an excellent cheese spread and can have herbs and spices added to it. It can also be used by itself as a substitute for cream cheese or ricotta in cooking. It has the consistency of a cream cheese with a fraction of the calories and cholesterol. It can be made with either whole or skim milk. Fromage blanc is made with a direct-set culture.

Makes up to 2 1/2 pounds

  • 1 gallon whole or skim milk
  • 1 packet of direct-set fromage blanc starter

Heat one gallon of milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and then cool to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 1 packet of direct-set fromage blanc starter to the milk and stir in. Cover and let set at 72 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours (or overnight).

Line a colander with a layer of fine cheesecloth. Ladle the coagulated fromage blanc curd into the colander. Allow to drain for 6 to 12 hours or until it reaches the desired consistency. A shorter draining time produces a cheese spread. A longer draining time produces a cream cheese-type consistency. Make sure the room temperature is close to 72 degrees during draining. After draining, store in a covered container and refrigerate.