May 20th, 2014

One-Hour Cheese! review, recipes, and a giveaway


It wasn’t just the allure of this gluten-free, no-bake tart, coupled with the fact that local strawberries are here at our markets, ready to spill their juicy sweetness over its top.

It’s the homemade cheese that fills it: Fromage Facile. That’s French for “Easy Cheese.” Soft, slightly tangy, fresh—and ready to spread into that tart, in about thirty minutes. I was sold.

But, there’s more.
Delicate Chevre kisses laced with lavender and thyme, spiced twists of Oaxacan cheese (quesillo) to pull and melt over flatbread, rounds of burrata filled with brown butter and cream.


Chevre. Mozzarella. Burrata. All wonderful cheeses—can you imagine making them yourself in under an hour?

Claudia Lucero says absolutely! and demonstrates 16 different varieties simply, beautifully, in her new book, One-Hour Cheese.

I’m a novice in this field. I have experimented, with some success, making ricotta and mascarpone . But I want to know more. How do you hand-stretch mozzarella? Why do you use citric acid and vegetable rennet? How do you form that purse of burrata and fill it with cream? What can you do with all that leftover whey? Can you really make a smoked cheddar wheel in just 60 minutes? (You can, although its name, “smoked cheater,” tells you it is not a true smoked cheddar—-but it’s incredible, nonetheless.)

One-Hour Cheese provides the answers to these–and many other cheese making questions.


Even though I wanted to leap to the more complicated recipe, Burrata, for my first try, I decided to begin with Fromage Facile. This super-simple and delectable cheese is ideal for anyone’s initial foray into cheese-making. It provides a luscious blank canvas, ready to accept sweet or savory applications. And, you don’t need any extraordinary to make it. Likely you already have everything you need in your pantry.

The ingredient list? Whole cow’s milk, buttermilk, lemon juice and salt.

Supplies of Note? Cheesecloth and a reliable thermometer.


The process is quick: gently heat the milk to 175 degrees. Stir in the buttermilk and lemon juice. Watch the curds form before your eyes.


Strain, to separate the whey. Lightly salt. Form into a ball. Ta-Dah! Fromage Facile.


Claudia gives many enticing recipes, to accompany each of the cheeses in the book. Tapenades and dried fruit-nut pastes to flavor the farm-fresh rounds. Vibrant herb-olive oil marinades to cloak bocconcini–little bon-bons of mozzarella. Spiked and peppered melts for pizza and quesadillas.

The photographs are appealing; the steps involved are clearly illustrated; interesting tips are posted throughout. Claudia’s style is upbeat and fun. You’ll want to make these cheeses. And, you can.


This No-Bake Tartlette? You can whip it up in the time it takes for the Fromage Facile curds to drain. The crust has only 3 ingredients: toasted nuts (I used walnuts, but almonds or pecans would work well.) combined with dates and a pinch of salt. That’s it.


Press the mixture into the pans. Swirl a little honey into the Fromage Facile, and spread into each tart shell. Top with the Fruit of the Moment.

Right now, the strawberries in Nashville are out of this world. Slice a few and sprinkle a little raw sugar over these gems–it coaxes out the juices. Add some furls of basil or mint, if you like. Spoon over the tart. Serve immediately—or chill for 30 minutes. Either way, it is simply delicious.


Now, for the fun part: The Giveaway. You are going enjoy having this book as a part of your culinary library.

Post a comment below, telling about a favorite cheese, or a cheese making experience. On June 1st, I will announce the winner, chosen at random.

You can also follow Claudia’s book-blog tour—next up is Texas Farmer’s Daughter and Butter Me Up, Brooklyn. Check ’em out.



FROMAGE FACILE from One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero
1 quart whole cow’s milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
1 cup cultured buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon flake salt (or to taste)
Fresh Herbs (optional)

Medium colander or mesh strainer
Fine cheesecloth
Large heat-resistant bowl
2 quart stockpot
Cooking thermometer
Large mixing spoon
Measuring cup and measuring spoons

1. Line the colander with cheesecloth. Place a bowl underneath to collect the whey.
2. Pour the quart of cow’s milk into a pot. Place over medium heat, warming the milk until it reaches 175 degrees. Stay close by to monitor the heat, stirring to prevent the skin from forming on the top or sticking to the bottom.
3. When the milk reaches 175 degrees, add the buttermilk and lemon juice. Stir well. Remove from heat and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
4. You will see separation of curds and whey. Stir the curds gently to check the texture. Pour into the cheesecloth-lined colander.
5. Allow the curds to drain until they resemble thick oatmeal, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the salt.
6. Pack the cheese into a paper (or plastic) lined dish to form a wheel.


NO-BAKE STRAWBERRY-CHEESE TARTLETS adapted from One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup pitted dates
1/8 teaspoon salt
Fromage Facile
1 tablespoon honey
Fresh ripe strawberries
fresh basil or mint

Place walnuts and dates into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add salt. Pulse and process together to form a crumbly crust that will stay formed when squeezed.

Press the crust into tart pans.

Fold honey into fromage facile. Spread into tart shells. Chill for one hour.

Slice strawberries and place into a small bowl. Chiffonade (finely slice) basil or mint and toss into berries.
Top the tarts with berry-mint mixture and serve.


Posted in Egg/Cheese Dishes, Fruit, Gluten Free, Recipes

25 Responses to “One-Hour Cheese! review, recipes, and a giveaway”
  1. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    1 hour cheese! No way! I don’t believe you:) Kidding of course but seriously, this I have to try!

  2. Barbara Says:

    Fascinating. I’ve made ricotta (and you are so right….it’s easier than anyone thinks) but haven’t attempted anything else. Very cool book, Nancy. Keep us posted if you make burrata, I love it.
    Never have used dates in a crust, I like that idea too. Your strawberries look bright and delicious.

  3. galyn Says:

    Oh, that sounds (and looks) amazing! Yum!

  4. Miriam Says:

    While I haven’t made cheese myself, I’ve read a LOT of cheese making recipes. None of them require fewer than 60 minutes. Would love a crack at that book!

  5. Urban Cheesecraft Says:

    Nancy, your custom strawberry tarts look delectable! Thank you for the great review- I’m glad cheese truly was easy. I hope you enjoy every recipe! Claudia, One Hour Cheese

  6. shannon Says:

    my favorite cheese? that’s too hard! it changes depending on the season and what my latest vegetable affair might be. strong contenders include: triple cream brie, buttermilk cheddar, and guyere. they each have different uses and inevitably end up being the cheese in the house at any given time. i would love to be able to make goat cheese!

  7. ernestine Says:

    Oh my
    I must try this.
    Thank you
    from the woods :)

  8. Teresa, foodonfifth Says:

    This looks yummy Nancy. I have made a few different cheeses in the past and isn’t it amazing how quick and easy many are? Ricottas, Goat Cheese, Fresh Mozz…..And oh so much better than store bought. I will definitely pick up a copy of Claudia’s book and try out a few recipes.
    Love your little tarts with those ruby red jewel! We are having a good crop here this year are we not. T

  9. Andrea Says:

    I have made ricotta – very delicious. I’d love to explore more homemade cheeses. Thank you for the giveaway.

  10. Michele C. Says:

    I have made “fromage facile” several times and used it in place of store bought ricotta cheese for raviolis and lasagnas. So easy and so delicious!
    I would love to have a copy of Claudia’s book to learn how to make other cheeses at home. It would be great to make other cheeses at home!

  11. Kath Says:

    I have never made cheese, that has to change. I like the sound of the walnut and date crust very much and those strawberries do indeed look delicious. I have picked my first two this very morning out of our polytunnel but the woodlice are making valiant attempts at getting to them first.

  12. Katie G Says:

    I have made yogurt and sour cream before, but I’ve never made cheese. I’ve always wanted to, and it’s on my bucket list if things to do this year. Here’s my chance!

  13. Michele | Cooking At Home Says:

    This looks like fun,Nancy. Those mini tarts are calling my name.

  14. Phyllis Says:

    I don’t think I can pick a favorite cheese. Love cheese. I have never made cheese,but would love to make it after reading your article & recipe.

  15. Liz S. Says:

    I’ve never made cheese myself, but I would sure love to try! There are so many cheeses to love! I think for me, a freshly made buffalo mozzarella would be my favorite…with tasty homegrown tomatoes, fresh basil, pungent olive oil, and a pinch of crunchy fleur du sel – summer on a plate!

  16. Maggie Says:

    Hey Nance! What a wonderful post! My only venture into cheese making was when we tried our hand at the ricotta. I have all the ingredients, and you provide the inspiration to go for it! The no-bake tarts look amazing, and now that it’s creeping toward 90, that’s a good thing!

  17. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Mag—I still want us to make the mozzarella and burrata–likely the least easy of Claudia’s recipes–but still doable in an hour.

    I was especially happy with the no-bake crust–simply ground walnuts and dates. The taste is delicious and the crust holds up surprisingly well.

  18. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Liz—you are speaking my language. that is perfection!

    Kath–curse those woodlice! good luck with those berries!

    Shannon—I would like to make goat cheese too. According to this book, it is not difficult at all. The main thing is getting fresh goat’s milk.

  19. heather Says:

    Wow, that looks amazing! Great photos Nancy, thank you for sharing!

  20. Gail Says:

    Love all cheeses – can’t pick one – only made yoguart cheese-thanks for the giveaway.

  21. Shannon Borg Says:

    Wow! This is beautiful. I love the book-blog tour idea – so much great information in one place! The photos really help lead you through it. I will try this cheese immediately!


  22. Joyti Says:

    And no rennet in your fromage facile! It looks really delicious. The tart looks really decadent. Yum yum!

  23. fluffy Says:

    I have never made cheese would love to learn how……. the strawberries have been amazing so far this season. the no-bake tart looks really delicious.

  24. Gerlinde de Broekert Says:

    This recipe looks fantastic. I just came across your blog and love it. I make quark, a German soft cheese , all the time,

  25. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Congratulations to Phyllis, winner of the giveaway, One-Hour Cheese! Go cheesemakers!

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