The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


cheesehappens's picture


I'm writing a piece on smearcase and here in Baltimore there's certainly a lot of discussion about what is authentic. Anyone from anywhere with recipes, reminiscences, etc., to share? Merci!

proth5's picture

was young (and dinosaurs roamed the earth) this was the term my family (a PA "Dutch" family) used for any cottage cheese.  Of course, we only considered it authentic when it was covered with ludwarrich (apple butter.)

I have seen it spelled schmierkase - but PA Deitsch dialect spellings are wildly inconsistent.

I'll bet there is raging controversy!

coconutlime's picture

I developed a recipe for smearcase a few years ago and was actually just interviewed by the Washington Post about it this month.

kutzeh's picture

Oh yes, Mom used to buy smearcase at the butcher shop and use it in pierogi and cheese filled rolls. He used to get it out of a large container and then put it on paper and wrap it.I used to be abe to buy dry cottage cheese, but no more. Now I get cottage cheese rinse and drain it well. Then for fillings I use an immersion blender and break down the curds, sweeten with splenda and add a bit of nutmeg. Wow good to eat !

I'm 72 so I almost forgot about it. Thanks for the memories.

You can google smearcase and get the recipe but it's easier to start with the cottage cheese than make cottage cheese.

kutzeh's picture

the above recipe for cheese filling is great in crepes.

mhjoseph's picture

It looks the same to me as the farmer's cheese or baker's cheese which see the supermarket.

Susan Kline's picture
Susan Kline

Google schmierkase and several entries will come up.  One is for Baltimore schmierkase cake. I haven't tried it, but it sounds good.  Susan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I agree with Susan,  and the meaning of the word has changed somewhat too instead of just being an ingredient.

Look what I stumbled onto. I am enjoying this site.  You just can't imagine!


kutzeh's picture

There is a product called "JUnket" a rennet tablet. You can get it in flavors for dessert or just tablets to make cheese. Good both ways. Makes cheese easy!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Does anyone have a good recipe for mascarpone? I read you can use either lemon juice or tartar. Which is better? I have tons of lemons so that would be easier.

Where can I buy JUnket rennet for making other types of cheeses?

Susan Kline's picture
Susan Kline

Junket should be in the same aisle as dry pudding mixes and tapioca.  I don't have any cheese recipes, though.  I find mascarpone in our Italian deli. Susan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or something similar.  Maybe he will chime in. 

For cheese, do you mean  Rennet tablets?

mrfrost's picture

Link to what appears to be an excellent tutorial(with pics) on making mascarpone. He makes it with tartaric acid, but mentions that lemon juice may be used.

About 4 years ago, I was in L.A. and was looking for some mascarpone cheese. The only (convenient) place I was able to find it was Trader Joe's. I think I recall it being about $3 (or $4?) for a small 8 oz tub. This was almost 4 years ago. Pretty sure I saw the same stuff somewhat recently here at Trader Joe's in Atlanta, but don't remember the price.

As I recall, it didn't seem to have much taste or flavor, but being unfamiliar with this new(to me) food, maybe I just didn't know what taste I was to expect.

Wonder how the home made compares for taste, and economics? I imagine one will probably realize a volume yield of about half(or less?) that of the cream and half and half used.


mcs's picture

This is similar to the method posted by mrfrost using tartaric acid (available in powdered form where you'd buy winemaking supplies).

2 liters heavy cream
5 ml tartaric acid

1.  Stirring constantly, bring the cream to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until it is reduced by 33%.  I weigh the saucepan with the cream in it, figure out what the 'target weight' is, then check it periodically. FYI it takes me about 20 min.

2.  Place the pan in an ice bath and stir to cool.  

3.  Stir in the tartaric acid, return to pan to heat, then bring the mixture to 118F.  Remove from heat.

4.  Line a colander with a triple layer of cheesecloth.  Place the colander in a stock pot to catch the liquid, then pour the cream in the cheesecloth.  Cover the stockpot with plastic wrap and place the whole thing in the fridge overnight.  

It's good to go in the morning and tastes better than what you'd buy in a store.  Works great for tiramisu!


kutzeh's picture

I can buy "Junket" at a grocery store. I live in an ethnic town and many Syrian people make cheese so it's available. I think Amazon has it too. Also called rennet tablets.

I just googled "junket tablets" and a bunch of links came up.

Happy Hunting

PeteInAz's picture

Marscapone Cheese


1 pint heavy cream
1/2 tsp tartaric acid (cream of tartar)
1/4 tsp confectioner's sugar


Fill the bottom of a double boiler with enough water to touch the top pan, but the top should fit neatly and not "float." Bring to a simmer.
Pour the cream into the top of a double boiler and place over simmering water.
Add the confectioner's sugar and whisk constantly.
When the cream is warm add the tartaric acid. Whisk over the heat until the cream reaches a temperature of 180 degrees.
Remove from heat and allow to cool, whisking occasionally.
Pour the mixture into a bowl through a thick cheesecloth, or line a fine metal strainer with a coffee filter.
Cover the bowl and refrigerator for at least 12 hours before use.

Ingredient Substitutions
Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup whipping cream.

OR Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup cream

OR Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/8 cup whipping cream and 1/8 cup sour cream.