What's the best part of making your own soft cheese from raw milk?
Raw milk contains probiotics of course!
Raw milk left to sit out and get warm means those probiotics are proliferating.
This raw milk mascarpone is teeming with living flora. It's an indulgent, tasty health food that you can enjoy in both sweet and savory dishes!
What Is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is a soft cheese — fluffier than creme fraiche, milder than chevre, richer and less tart than cream cheese.
It hails from Lombardy, Italy, and is often used in desserts like tiramisu.
Citrus vs. Rennet In Mascarpone
While mascarpone is commonly made with fruit-derived lemon juice, citric acid, or cream of tartar, I wanted to use rennet for a fruit-free approach.
Most of the soft cheese available today is going in the opposite direction, however, with vegetarian, rennet-free instructions. It almost impossible to find a rennet-based, soft cheese recipe!
What's the difference between using acids or rennet?
With the three common acids I mentioned above (lemon juice, cream of tartar, and citric acid), the acid is added directly to the milk to coagulate the milk proteins.
With rennet, the enzyme converts the lactose in milk into lactic acid, which in turn coagulates the milk proteins.
In both of these methods, the proteins clump into curds, and the liquid separates off as whey.
Mascarpone curdled with rennet yields a cheese similar to a sweet cheese custard.
If you've never made cheese before, this recipe is an excellent place to start.
Raw Milk Mascarpone Cheese
- a 2-quart pot
- a large colander
- a bowl or bucket to fit under the colander
- double-layer fine cheesecloth
- a thermometer that measures as low as 86 degrees Fahrenheit
- 2 cups raw cream
- 2 cups raw milk
- 1/8 non-GMO, organic vegetable rennet tablet (I recommend this or this)
- 2 tablespoons water
Makes approximately 2-1/2 cups mascarpone cheese.
First, make sure your hands, countertops, and all of your tools are very clean and free of chlorine.
In a saucepan, slowly heat raw cream and raw milk to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring slowly. Once milk reaches this temperature, turn off the heat.
Crush 1/8 rennet tablet into a powder and dissolve into water. Add rennet water to the warmed milk and cream. Slowly stir — mimic a Ferris wheel when you stir: up and over in circles — for 20 seconds, until well mixed. Then counter-stir for 5 seconds. Cover the pot with a large tea towel and set aside at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours, or overnight. Do not disturb the pot.
After 10 to 12 hours, there may be a pooling of whey on the surface and an overall thickening of the milk. This is a very soft curd that has formed. On the other hand, your cheese may have very little visible whey and scoop like yogurt. It all depends!
Now, rinse the cheesecloth in hot water and wring out. Line a colander with a double thickness of cheesecloth, and nest the colander into a bowl or bucket. Ladle the thickened cream into the prepared colander. Cover loosely with a large tea towel or large corners of cheesecloth. Place this in a cool location or refrigerator. (I leave mine out when we go to sleep, as our home cools off considerably overnight.) Allow the cheese to drain 2 to 12 hours, until desired thickness is achieved. (Reserve leftover whey for the base of a smoothie, or use in place of milk in your favorite pancake recipe.)
Transfer to a glass storage container and refrigerate. Consume within 1 week.
Uses For Mascarpone
The first time I made mascarpone, I drizzled a bit of maple syrup over it and ate it in a bowl with a spoon. It was incredible, yet very rich.
You may want to top yours with berries or create an authentic tiramisu.
Mascarpone is equally lovely in savory dishes — as a layer in lasagna, served on an antipasto platter with olives and sprouted nuts, or anywhere you'd use chevre, ricotta, or cream cheese.
The first time I made this cheese, I left it out for my husband to enjoy while I ran an errand. He texted me to let me know how he liked it, even adding kiss and fireworks emojis: “Best dairy product I've ever eaten!!” he said.
Do you enjoy making simple, probiotic cheeses? Have you ever made mascarpone?
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