I am a citrus addict. I admit it. And while I love it in the summer, I almost enjoy it more in the fall and winter when we have so many rainy days here in the northwest. It just brightens everything up.
This cheese is a wonderful appetizer, served with some simple crackers.
The zest can be left out, but I love the extra citrus punch it gives. You can of course cut this in half and use just a half gallon of milk, but it makes a wonderful gift to give a little container with some crackers. I even considered giving little jars of this with some homemade crackers instead of our usual confection boxes this Christmastime!
I used to make just the lemon cheese (as per the variation instructions at bottom of recipe) but once I tried it with orange and lemon there was no going back. DEFINITELY my favorite.
1 gallon whole milk
salt, to taste
Use a fine grater to zest orange and lemons, set aside. Juice citrus (you want about 1/4 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup lemon juice, a little more is fine as well), set aside.
Heat milk to 200 degrees in a large pot. Turn off heat.
Add the citrus juice and stir in to combine.
Cover pot and let sit for 15 minutes.
(If the curds and whey have not separated at this point, add more lemon juice and let sit a little longer until separated.)
Line a colander with butter muslin (a fine cheesecloth, or multiple layers of cheesecloth.) Set colander over a bowl.
Ladle the curds into muslin (I pour all the liquid over it to make sure I get it all, but I have to empty the bowl underneath a few times usually.)
Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hang. I use a banana hook, but you can even use a kitchen cabinet knob. Just make sure to leave a bowl underneath to catch the drips.
Let drain for about an hour, or until dripping stops.
Place cheese in a bowl and add salt to taste and zest if using. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.
VARIATION: For Lemon Cheese, Use the juice of 4 to 6 lemons, about 1/2 cup. Zest may be left out if desired as well.