bread · leftovers · no-dough

Herbed Lemon Cheese and Two Breads to Go with

I had some lemon left after I zested it and used a half of it for amazing lemony-cottage cheesy-jammy-nutty Rugelach  from zoebakes.com (we have discovered a jar of quite old but still good homemade blueberry jam…), so I was looking for a recipe to use it, along with the herbs we got from our dacha. The one I chose was Herbed Lemon Cheese recipe,  which I adapted from www.hungrycravings.com. It resulted in cheese somewhat similar to the Adygea cheese, as this one is also fresh and almost neutral in taste, but with herbs and pepper =)

So if you too happen to have 0.9 litres of milk (perhaps already on the verge of going off?) and a lemon, even a half of it, which will be enough to  squeeze ¼ cup juice, some herbs of your choice and also patience to wait at least 2 days before actually eating, then this recipe is for you. It will make soft fresh cheese with your favourite herbs, perfect for breakfast. By the way, an almost litre of milk will make a small ‘wheel’ of cheese, but in compensation you will also get almost 700 ml or so of buttermilk, which I used for the Classic White Bread (see further) and Bittersweet Chocolate-Walnut Bundt Cake (from www.notesfrommyfooddiary.com) – the latter yielded two cakes, as the amount of batter was just enormous=)

Here’s what I changed:

I used 2.5% fat milk instead of  2%;

I did not add any garlic, as I remember from my previous experience it made the cheese too … garlicky;

instead of chives I used spring onions and instead of parsley I chopped up some dill, and as I had no thyme yet (it’s still too little to be picked from our pots!) I just doubled the amount of my herbs;

I could have used more salt though, I did not use table salt (the larger grain salt) but the finer one, so the cheese was quite bland.

Look how funny it looked after its 24 hour ‘hanging’ in the fridge before the herbs and seasoning were added!

By the way, I was using a handkerchief instead of a cheesecloth (which we call ‘marlya’ in Russian).

From the other side it looked nice and smooth and oh-so-white:

And now, this is how it looked like after its already second overnight stay (after the herbs and seasoning are added and you shape your cheese), very soft and almost not keeping its shape.

After the third night (and it only survived 2 morning meals) it was somewhat denser and I managed to cut it in slices. But anyway, it’s just too fresh to be sliced, so go ahead, spread it on your favourite bread! Here are my suggestions, based on what I have been baking recently:

Here the cheese is paired with Yeasted Corn Bread adapted from anecdotesandapples.weebly.com – the recipe makes a gorgeous soft and tasty bread! I made two round loaves but you can also make rolls / buns as the author suggests.

My changes to the original recipe were, hahaha, accidental: thus, I added instant dry yeast instead of active and also I completely forgot honey… But the bread turned out just fine, yellowish in colour and really great in taste =) I also scattered some poppy seeds on top, using a tiny bit from the egg used in the dough for the glaze. Ah, yes, I also used sunflower oil instead of butter, simply because I was too lazy to melt it and cool it =) I ‘forgot’ (another recipe I was doing parallel took me more time than expected) about the proofing yeast for some 30 mins, ohohoh, but it didn’t prevent my bread from rising several more times as required!

Here is another option ‘to go with’ your cheese – Classic White Bread adapted from much appreciated www.browneyedbaker.com with such alterations as:  rye & spelt brans along with wheat germ added to all purpose flour, which actually turned my white bread into a slightly brown one =) But we did not mind!

The result: the cheese, although quite neutral in taste (the lemon flavour is hardly distinct), is a perfect substitution for butter. I normally do not eat butter at all – only using it for the recipes (when I was a child, I used to spread ONLY butter on my toast and didn’t like cheese… I was weird!=), but for those who cannot live without making an inter-layer between their bread and other toppings, this is just the thing! It also reminded me of that German cheese spread made from quark and herbs that you can buy in tubs, although that one has a more vivid taste.

P.S. I have some cottage cheese leftovers in my fridge, haha, sometimes these things just seem to be a never-ending Leftovers saga=) So will make some dzikka, something like our Russian syrniki (curd fritters, which can be made in the oven too) but the recipe comes from Osetia, the Caucasus, and it calls for cornmeal and fresh cheese which I’m going to ‘imitate’ by using the cottage cheese.

G.

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