This is a very easy cheese to make. I rarely have made Mascarpone mainly just for the reason it is so high in fat and I will eat it all. Mascarpone can be used to dip fruit into, add some creaminess to pasta dishes, and the main reason I am making some is to make some Tiramisu for thanksgiving dessert. Mascarpone is a triple-creme cheese made from fresh cream. Traditionally, this was made from the fresh milk of cows that have grazing pastures filled with fresh herbs and flowers. The freshest milk is still the best for this but a great Mascarpone can also be easily made with cream from the store which is what I will be doing. There are two ways that it can be made. One method is that a small amount of tartaric acid is blended in water and added to the cream heated to 180F (simaler to the way queso blanco is made. It is a quick way to make it if you are in a hurry but not nearly as smooth in texture as if you use a bacterial culture to curd it. I will be using a culture to make mine this time. Normally Marscapone has a fat content of around 20%. I am going to use some half and half to make this batch which will drop the fat down to the around 15%.
- 1/2 gallon of half and half
- 1 packet of creme fraiche culture
- 1/8 tsp calcium chloride
- In a sanitized pot add the milk/cream combo and then add 1/8 tsp of calcium chloride to help set a firm curd since this is a pasteurized and cold stored milk (not needed if using a fresh cream ).
- Slowly heat to 86F. This can be done directly on the stove since this is a low slow heat you wont need a double boiler to do this.
- When the cream is heated up remove it from the heat, and open the packet of Creme Fraiche culture. Sprinkle this culture over the cream surface to rehydrate. After 1 minute stir into the milk. There is a small bit of rennet in it to help form the curd.
- Cover the pot and move it to a place it wont be disturbed at room temperature (68-74F).
- Let it sit for 10-12 hours (less time for warmer temp and more for a cooler one). Do not disturb the pot while setting. It is fine for the milk/cream temperature to drop to room temperature during this period.
- When the curd has firmed, you will see a definite thickening of the milk and perhaps some clear drops or pools of whey on the surface.
- The curd will not be thick enough to cut but you will need to ladle it into a cloth lined colander to drain for 1-2 hours. if you let it drain for 12 hrs it will be more of a whipped cream cheese texture. But traditionally it only needs 2 hours at most.
- Store in the fridge and use within 7-10 days.
Like I said it is very easy to make. It will make me a delicious tiramisu.