Friday, 20 May 2011

Not-Quite-Raw Sour-Milk Soft Goat’s Cheese / Home-Made Herby Labneh

This is a creamy, dreamy cheese.
The sublimeness perhaps dependent on Fielding Cottage’s sublime Raw Goat’s Milk.  For lack of fridge the milk turned rather quick and, as has become habit on such (all-too-common) occasions, I put myself to the task of making Sour Milk Soft Cheese.

Despite uncertain glances at the souring milk all too-readily put to use, Mary Norvak in The Farmhouse Kitchen has quite obliged me:  To make cheese, she writes unabashed: “Put sour milk in a warm place until thick.  Add half teaspoon salt to each pint of milk.  Put into a muslin bag and leave to drain over night”. 

I combined this with Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Labneh with Olives, Pistachios and Oregano Recipe’ (a tear-out from The Guardian Weekend 10th October 2009, but I imagine it now features in his latest book: Plenty.)


Scald the Sour Goat’s Milk so it splits (this speeds up the process), without boiling.  If your milk is not sour you can split it with ½ tbsp of vinegar. Allow to cool slightly and combine with a similar quantity of Natural Yoghurt and 1 tsp of good salt to pint of milk.  Strain through muslin for several hours or overnight. 

(The resulting liquid is Whey.  This can be used in bread as I am reminded by Linda of withknifeandfork, or in Lacto-Fermentation, as it abounds in Lactobacilli.  I actually used it in Buckwheat Pancakes… I shall tell anon).

And there, in the muslin sits the lovely soft cheese.  The yoghurt gives it a creamy texture and a sharp depth of flavour sometimes absent in DIY cheeses.  Inspired by Ottolenghi, I combined the Soft Cheese with a mix of Palestinian spices I had to hand (Toasted Sesame, Syrian Marjoram, Sumac), some finely chopped Oregano from the garden, and Olives. 

Douse the cheese in Olive Oil and serve for breakfast with just-baked Flat Bread, more Olives and Black Coffee.
Dream yourself into the Middle-East.

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