Lemon Zest Buttermilk Fresh Cheese

1 6-ounce round


  • 1 quart whole milk

  • 1 ½ cups whole or low-fat buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for serving

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

  • French bread, for serving

  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Cut out three pieces of cheesecloth into 12-inch squares. Line a colander or medium strainer with all three layers of cheesecloth. Set colander in sink.

  2. Combine milk, buttermilk, salt, and lemon zest in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat until mixture has separated into white curds and translucent whey, about 8 minutes. If using lowfat buttermilk, separation occurs at about 180 degrees and the curds will clump together readily. If using whole buttermilk, separation occurs closer to the boiling point, about 212 degrees, and the curds are finer-grained. When using whole buttermilk, let curds and whey stand off heat for about 3 minutes after separation, so the curds cling together and facilitate the straining step.)

  3. Ladle the contents of the saucepan into the prepared colander. Let the whey drain, 1 to 2 minutes. Lift the four corners of the cheesecloth and gather them together. Gently twist the gathered cloth over the cheese and press out any excess whey.

  4. Serve unwrapped cheese warm on French bread, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt.

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