Making this cheese involves kneading the curds into a satiny, moist "dough." Roll it into a log shape, chill it, and then slice it into rounds. The method is based on one for the Indian cheese called chenna, which we found in Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making (Storey Publishing, 2002). Prep and Cook Time: about 2 1/2 hours, including about 2 hours of draining and chilling time.
1 gal. whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 to 5 large lemons)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped chives
How to Make It
In a large, heavy pot, heat milk to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent scorching (this will take about 30 minutes, so bring a book). As soon as it boils, remove from heat and drizzle in lemon juice, stirring slowly and gently. Keep stirring until solid white curds separate from greenish white, translucent liquid whey. (If whey is still milky instead of clear, return to heat until whey is clear.) Let sit until curds have settled below whey, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, line a large colander with cheesecloth and set in sink. Pour curds into colander and rinse gently with lukewarm water 5 seconds. Gather cheesecloth up over curds and gently twist to squeeze out excess liquid (it will still be dripping).
Put a plate on cheesecloth-wrapped curds and top with a 5-lb. weight. Let drain 45 minutes. (At this point it may still be dripping a bit; this is okay.)
Unwrap cheese and put in bowl of stand mixer with dough hook attachment with salt and chives. (You can also knead it by hand.) Beat cheese on medium-low speed or knead it until silky looking and no longer grainy (similar to cream cheese), 10 to 12 minutes.
Roll cheese into a 2-in.-thick log and wrap in waxed paper and then plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.
Very good! Worked just as described. I doubled the salt and used 1.5 times the chives (so 3 T instead of 2 T), but you can make it as-is and taste at the end and amp up if needed. Might try different herbs next time for variety, or some smoked paprika. I plan to eat it sliced on fresh tomatoes. Would be good on baquette slices. Try this!
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