Get ready to be excited about something, even if you’re the most seasoned stoner or jaded cook. Making velvety-soft cannabis-infused cheese at home is fast, easy, and leads to things like infused cheesecake, bagels with infused shmear, infused artichoke dip and buffalo dip—so many delicious things.
You’ve got to try this. You’re going to love it.
The best thing about making any kind of soft cheese at home—other than how surprisingly easy it is—is that you can add in whatever flavors you love. We are garlic heads, so that goes into our cheese almost every time, but there are so many options, all of which mellow out any residual cannabis flavor.
It’s a wonderful match. This recipe helps you create a soft, creamy, farm-style cheese, which is an ideal place to start with infusing or cheesemaking since it’s so simple. This rich, lactose-rich style of cheese is perfect with so many things—including a cheese board, cheese toast, our infused grilled cheese sandwiches…sorry. We’re doing it again.
Let’s just make this.
How to Make Soft Cheese
It’s really easy to make a creamy, smooth, soft cheese at home. You start with buttermilk, which is part of the way there anyway, because it’s cultured, along with whole milk (you need the fat), and a little lemon juice to help the curds along. Add in your cannabis and some seasoning, and the rest is just time and steps.
What you’ll need:
Good news! If you already have cannamilk, this takes much less time and you don’t need a double boiler setup, either. That part of the equipment assumes that you need to infuse your milk:
- Food thermometer
- Food-grade string or twine
- 2 large bowls
- Double boiler, or large sauce pot and glass bowl that fits on top to create a double boiler
- Strainer or colander
- Ramekin or serving bowl to hold the cheese
- 1 quart whole milk, or 2 cups cannamilk and 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Cannabis flower, up to an eighth
- 2 to 4 teaspoons lemon juice (about one whole lemon)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Optional: other add-ins
1. Follow the steps we describe in our cannabutter post to decarboxylate and grind your cannabis flower to get it ready for infusion.
2. If you have cannamilk from our other recipes, you’re ahead of the game! Skip down to Step 6. If you need some, keep going.
3. Place water in the bottom of your double boiler, or fill the sauce pot about half full of water. Bring water to a boil. Place the top half of the double boiler or the glass bowl on top.
(It’s important to use either a double boiler or a set up with a pot and a bowl because you need to heat the milk slowly and indirectly. This allows you to infuse the fats without scalding them.)
4. Place the decarbed flower in the glass bowl. Pour in just 2 cups of the whole milk, slowly. Cover the double boiler with a lid and allow the milk to infuse for a minimum of 2 hours. Keep the double boiler covered, but do stir the milk from time to time to prevent that nasty film or skin from forming.
5. After at least 2 hours of infusing time, strain the milk carefully through multiple layers of the cheesecloth. Squeeze out the cloth to release all of the cannamilk—which is useful in anything from cereal to coffee, by the way.
6. In a saucepan on medium-low heat, bring cannabis-infused milk and the remaining whole milk to a temperature of about 175°F—this should be just before it starts to simmer. Add the buttermilk and stir.
7. To the cannamilk, milk, and buttermilk, immediately add two teaspoons of lemon juice to start the curdling process and remove the saucepan from the heat. Curdling separates the milk into curds and whey, with curds being cheese and whey being a sort of watery leftover. After about 10 minutes you should have a thick layer of curds over the liquid whey.
8. Place the strainer or colander over a bowl and line it with several lays of cheesecloth. Gently and carefully, spoon the curds into the cheesecloth, without pressing them. Just let gravity separate the curds and whey initially. (You can save the whey and use it in sourdough bread or pancakes, although it is likely to retain only around 1/10th the potency of the cheese.)
9. Once the first part of the process has taken place with the help of gravity, give your cheese a final press. Tie the cheesecloth tightly with the string or twine, and then secure the bundle to the handle of a spatula or wooden spoon. Lay the handle across a bowl for 30 to 45 minutes to finish draining the cheese of all whey.
Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and season it with your add-ins. Pack the cheese into the bowl or ramekin, and cover it to chill and rest overnight in the refrigerator. This will make it easier to serve and help the flavors develop.
Serve with cracked pepper and a drizzle of infused EVOO for extra punch. Use this type of velvety soft cheese like cream cheese or a ricotta, spread on things or in dips or recipes.
Extras and Add-ins
What should you put into this cheese? Oooh, where to start:
- Salt, always, even if you’re making it sweet
- Tarragon and chives
- Lemon zest and rosemary
- Garlic and toasted onions
- Blueberries and strawberries, dried or not
- Honey and walnuts
- Cumin and dried chipotle
- Blue cheese crumbles and chives
- Hungarian style (fresh garlic, toasted caraway, capers, and smoked paprika—lots of it)
- Fresh basil and diced sun-dried tomatoes
- Dried cranberries, cinnamon, maple syrup, and pecans
- Everything bagel spice
What should you serve this cheese with? More fun:
- With chips, crackers, bagel chips, pita, crusty bread, etc.
- Fruit jams, chutneys, and pastes, and fresh fruit as well
- On a charcuterie board with other cheeses and meats
- With veggies and nuts and dips
And what recipes should this cheese go into? It’s so versatile! But here are some ideas:
- Spinach artichoke dip
- Buffalo cheese dip
- Infused grilled cheese sandwiches
- Cheese toasts
- Bacon-wrapped dates
- Lemon-ricotta pancakes
In fact, if you see a recipe with ricotta or cream cheese or goat cheese in it…you get the idea!
Final Thoughts on CannaCheese
We love making this cheese and having it around. Honestly, it’s lovely and worth the time to make whether or not it’s cannabis-infused. And when you add in those cannabinoids, it really takes the food to another level.
The best part is, you can flavor this cheese so that you can eat it easily and not taste any cannabis from infusing. It’s a fabulous edible and dish in its own right.