Fromage blanc is a fresh cow's milk cheese with a soft, spreadable texture and tangy, milky flavor. The name translates to "white cheese" in French. Fromage blanc is often included in or served as part of a dessert.
- Milk source: Cow
- Country of origin: France
- Texture: Soft
- Color: White
What Is Fromage Blanc?
Fromage blanc is to cow's milk what fresh chèvre is to goat's milk. This unaged French cheese has a tangy, yogurt-like aroma and thick, spreadable texture that ranges from sour cream to Greek yogurt to more fluffy and dry, like chèvre. It's also aged for a few weeks to make lactic-set bloomy rind cow's milk cheeses. This cheese may be made with whole milk or skim milk, or cream may be added to boost the fat content and create a softer, silkier texture.
How Fromage Blanc Is Made
Pasteurized milk is warmed in the cheesemaking vat, and starter cultures and a small amount of rennet are added to acidify and coagulate the milk into curd. Because this is a fresh lactic-set cheese, the milk is allowed to ferment for several hours, often overnight.
When the curd has a gel-like texture but is still relatively soft, it's time to drain the cheese. The cheese is scooped into butter muslin or cheesecloth, then tied and hung up to allow the whey to drain off. Draining may take anywhere from six to 12 hours, depending on whether the desired texture is smooth and spoonable or drier and moldable.
When the cheese has drained sufficiently, it's seasoned with salt. Dried herbs, spices, dried fruits, fruit preserves, or other flavors may be mixed in. Depending on the texture, the cheese may be packaged in plastic tubs or rolled into logs or balls, and wrapped for sale.
If you can't find fromage blanc, you can substitute fresh goat cheese in its place, but keep in mind that the texture of goat cheese is typically a little drier with a slightly stronger flavor than fromage blanc. Other fresh cheeses made from cow’s milk, such as well-drained quark, ricotta, or cream cheese, can also be used in its place.
Use fromage blanc the way you would fresh chèvre or goat cheese. This versatile cheese can be spiked with herbs, spices, or fruit preserves to make dips and spreads, dolloped into quiches and frittatas, mixed into casseroles and baked goods, or simply spread on bread, toast, or crackers. Fromage blanc is a great candidate for a cheese board and pairs well with honey, nuts, fresh or dried fruits, citrus curd, and other sweet-tart accompaniments.
Store fromage blanc in its original packaging in the coldest part of your refrigerator. If the fromage blanc is wrapped in cheese paper and not packaged in a plastic tub, it's a good idea to keep it in your cheese drawer to protect it from the drying air of your refrigerator.
Because it is a fresh cheese, its shelf life is shorter than hard cheeses, typically five to 10 days or within approximately seven days of opening. Fromage blanc that is past its prime will have an unpleasant spoiled milk smell and may grow white mold on its surface.
Unlike most cheeses, fromage blanc can be frozen and thawed without really affecting the texture or flavor. You can freeze fromage blanc in its original packaging if it's in a plastic tub; seal wrapped fromage blanc in an airtight plastic container or zip-top plastic bag before freezing for up to two months. Thaw frozen fromage blanc in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature for two to three hours before using.
Fromage Blanc Recipes
Types of Fromage Blanc
The texture and tanginess of fromage blanc will vary from producer to producer. The name is sometimes used interchangeably with fromage frais ("fresh cheese"), and the two are similar. However, French regulations defining these cheeses dictate that fromage frais must contain live active cultures when sold, whereas in cheeses labeled as fromage blanc, fermentation has been stopped, and cultures are no longer active.
Can You Eat the Rind?
Because fromage blanc is a fresh, unaged cheese, it does not develop a rind. The entire cheese can be eaten.