This fromage blanc cheese recipe is easy to make, and you can use it as a cream cheese substitute during the Great Cream Cheese Shortage.
What is Fromage Blanc?
Fromage blanc is French for “white cheese”. It’s a soft fresh cheese (not aged) with a texture similar to yogurt or sour cream when lightly drained. If you drain it a little more, it’s closer to cream cheese, fresh chevre, or queso fresco.
It’s easy to make, with just two ingredients! You can spread it on bread or bagels, use it in recipes, or add flavorings to use it as a dip.
Fromage Blanc Recipe – Homemade Soft Cheese
I like to start this cheese just before bedtime, let it culture overnight, and drain it in the morning.
1 gallon milk – raw milk or pasteurized, whole or skim (skim milk will yield a fat free, drier cheese)
1 packet direct set fromage blanc culture
Adapted from the book Home Cheese Making
In a large pot, heat milk to 86℉. Add the starter and mix well.
Cover and let set at 72 ℉ for 12 hours. Since it gets cool in my kitchen overnight in the winter, I’ve been placing mine in a cooler with a warm hot pack. I tuck a big towel around it to keep it cozy and absorb any moisture. (There is generally a bit of condensation.)
After 12 hours, the curd will be firm and the whey will be separated and slightly milky.
I place my big over-the-sink colander in a large bowl and line it with a large flour sack towel. You can also use butter muslin or a double layer of cheesecloth.
The cheese will just about fill the colander at this point. It shrinks up as it drains. Right now it looks more like thick yogurt.
Tie the ends of the cloth and hang to drain at room temp for 6-12 hours. Shorter drain time = softer cheese, longer drain time = firmer cheese. I generally hang for 6-8 hours.
Note: If cabinets are not extra sturdy, use a wooden spoon braced over a large container, or the back of a chair to hold your cheese for draining.
When the cheese is done, it’ll be dry and fairly firm.
At this point you an use it “as is”, or add flavorings. It’ll keep for up to 7-10 days refrigerated in a covered container.
One gallon of milk yields about 2 pounds of cheese.
Flavoring Soft Cheese
Fromage blanc has a mild flavor, so you can serve it savory or sweet. Drizzle it with honey and serve it with berries, or use herbs or chopped veggies for a dip or spread.
A couple of favorite options in our house are to mix it up like French onion dip with French Onion Dip Mix. I use 2 tablespoons of mix per one cup of cheese. This is what’s on the cracker at the top of the post.
For a meat free main dish, I mix this cheese (flavored or unflavored) with some eggs, bread crumbs or flour, salt, pepper and seasonings to taste, then form into patties and fry in butter.
I hope you’ll try this quick and easy cheese, and that your family will enjoy it as much as mine does.
What to do with Leftover Whey
Making cheese produces quite a bit of whey. You can drink the whey, freeze it in cubes to use in smoothies for extra protein, or use it to make live culture foods like beet kvass.
You can also feed whey to critters, like chickens, or water outside plants. The whey smells musty as it breaks down, so I don’t recommend using it inside. The smell may also attract wandering animals looking for a snack, so it’s best to dilute it well before using it to water plants.
Have you wanted to try cheesemaking but been too intimidated? Do you enjoy spreadable cheese but don’t like the long list of questionable ingredients on most commercial cheese spreads? Fromage blanc is perfect for you to make.
Fromage Blanc Soft Cheese
This easy to make soft cheese is lovely spread on bread or bagels, or used like yogurt or sour cream in desserts.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Culture Time + Drain Time: 18 hours
- Total Time: 18 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 pounds 1x
- Category: Cheese
- 1 gallon milk – raw or pasteurized, whole or skim (skim will yield a drier cheese)
- 1 packet direct set fromage blanc starter
- In a large pot, heat milk to 86 ℉. Add the starter and mix well.
- Cover and let set at 72℉ for 12 hours. If the room temperature is below 72℉, use hot packs or other sources of ambient heat. After 12 hours, the curd will be firm and the whey will be separated and slightly milky.
- Place a large colander in a bowl of sufficient size and line the colander with a large flour sack towel. You can also use butter muslin or a double layer of cheesecloth.
- Tie the ends of the cloth and hang to drain at room temp for 6-12 hours. Shorter drain time = softer cheese, longer drain time = firmer cheese. I generally hang for 6-8 hours.
- Flavor the cheese or use “as is”. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Adding a little salt will help to preserve the cheese.
If you do not have fromage blanc culture, you may substitute:
- Culture: 1/8 teaspoon mesophilic aromatic or 1 packet mesophilic direct-set culture
- Rennet: 4 drops liquid rennet or 2 drops double-strength liquid vegetable rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup cool water
Keywords: soft cheese, Fromage blanc, cheese spread
More Easy Cheesy Recipes
We live in Wisconsin, so we love our cheese! These are some of our favorite recipes for making cheese and cooking with cheese.
Originally posted in 2012, last updated in 2022.