Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cheese Butter. I Love Sodium Citrate.

So I was futzing around on the website of the Herkimer Cheese Co. (they who make my beloved holiday port wine cheese balls/logs) when I came across their trademarked product called "Chutter." Let that roll off your tongue. Chutter. What a lovely portmanteau....  Chutter's tagline is "cheddar that spreads like butter."

Now commercial cheese spreads are not a new thing at all. There are various pub cheeses, crock cheeses, and what all else out there. They are often highly processed, awful tasting, and I generally avoid them (except for Herkimer port wine cheese balls, of course). But the idea of Chutter stuck in my craw. What if I could somehow marry the flavor of good ol' Upstate New York cheddar cheese with butter?

I immediately thought that sodium citrate would be useful in this endeavor. Remember when I made those "Amercian" cheese burger slices with Nine Pin Cider and cheddar?

Sodium citrate utilizes some sort of scienc-y warlock magic to turn cheese into a smooth melty substance that sort of reminds one of Velveeta. Wonderful in burger application where that smooth melty quality is just the thing you are after. In my pursuit for spreadable "cheese butter" I thought that rendering hard aged cheddar a bit softer and smoother would be a good step.

I used 200 grams of cheese, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of water, and 7 grams of sodium citrate and followed the same method as in the Saveur recipe for burger slices.

I let the cheese goo cool at the same time as I let a single stick of butter come up to room temperature. Then I combined and let it all go in the food processor until whipped and creamy.

And there you have it. 4 Ingredients - cheddar, sodium citrate, water, and butter. What you are left with is a substance with the spreadable qualities (at room temperature of course) of butter and the delicious sharp flavor of a good New York cheddar. Perfect for any application where you might need a flavorful spread. On crackers for instance...

This method would work equally well for any hard cheese but I think the sharp character of the cheddar cuts the fat of the butter quite well. I am currently on one of my low carb kicks or else I would be slathering this on crusty bread with abandon. You could also fold any number of flavorful ingredients into the cheese butter to make Liptauer sorts of things.

In any event. If the great future state of New Amsterdam ever officially adopts an official spreadable food, then I believe it should be this cheddar butter.

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