Friday, March 1, 2013

DIY Mascarpone Cheese: SUPER EASY!


If you're like me and love to make things yourself, you have probably at least CONSIDERED making your own cheese.  But to be honest, until now, I've been very nervous because I thought it must be too difficult, require too many ingredients and pieces of equipment that I don't have...  But it turns out there are some very easy dairy products you can make yourself with ingredients and equipment you already have in your kitchen!  This is my first time making my own cheese, so I started with something super simple: mascarpone.  Not familiar with  it?  Have you ever had cannoli or tiramisu?  This is the cheese you use to make them.  You can also use it in place of cream cheese to make cheesecake.

Let me show you the three easy steps to making your own mascarpone...

Step 1: Pour four cups (one quart) of whipping cream into the top of a double boiler.  Don't have a double boiler?  Find a large bowl (glass or metal) to sit over a pot of boiling water.

 
 Heat the cream to 190 degrees F.  Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.

Step 2: Remove double boiler/bowl from pot and whisk in two tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then continue to stir occasionally for the next five minutes.  The cream should be starting to thicken.

Step 3: Fold a piece of cheesecloth in quarters and lay it in a strainer over a bowl.  Pour the cream into the cloth.  You can let it drain like this, or hang it like this:


 Once most of the whey has separated (can take 1-3 hours), you have finished mascarpone cheese!


Now you're ready to make any number of Italian desserts.  Mmmm....  You can also eat it on toast or a bagel.  It's basically a lightly sweet cream cheese.  Save your whey to add to smoothies or other recipes for added protein.

Cost comparison:
I used fresh, local organic whipping cream, which cost me $10 for 1/2 gallon.  That's basically the same price as regular whipping cream in the grocery store.  Half of that is $5.  The lemon juice was so little it was basically free, unless you use a fresh lemon, then I guess it could cost up to $0.30.

Homemade mascarpone: $5.30 for about 13 ounces of cheese, or $0.41/ounce
Storebought mascarpone: $4.39 (Publix) for 8 ounces, or $0.55/ounce

So not only is this cheaper to make yourself, it is fresh, local and organic!  There is no comparison.

Printable Recipe (Just highlight and click "print selection" in the printer menu.)

DIY Mascarpone Cheese
Ingredients:
4 cups (one quart) heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Equipment:
Double boiler or bowl and pot
Candy thermometer
Cheesecloth or butter muslin

1. Pour four cups (one quart) of whipping cream into the top of a double boiler.  Don't have a double boiler?  Find a large bowl (glass or metal) to sit over a pot of boiling water.  Heat the cream to 190 degrees F.  Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.

2.  Remove double boiler/bowl from pot and whisk in two tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then continue to stir occasionally for the next five minutes.  The cream should be starting to thicken.

3.  Fold a piece of cheesecloth in quarters and lay it in a strainer over a bowl.  Pour the cream into the cloth.  You can let it drain like this, or hang it over a bowl.  Once most of the whey has separated (can take 1-3 hours), you have finished mascarpone cheese!

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