With the arrival of my soy lecithin, I decided it was time to go ahead and do a test run on the savory cheese ball. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I wasn’t sure if I’d need the extra emulsifiers here, but better safe than sorry.
The recipe came out through experimentation, so I’ve revised it accordingly. I did not use lemon zest; it just would have taken too long.
Savory cheese ball test run (½ size)
- 4 oz. sharp cheddar, grated or shredded
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tsp. minced garlic
- ½ tsp. lemon juice
- Italian bread crumbs (for coating)
I used shredded cheddar because I had it on hand; I measured out 1 cup, with a full 8 oz. bag being 2 cups. I think it mixed well enough that I’m cool with the cellulose they add to keep it from clumping in the bag, so shredded cheddar will go into my full-size savory cheese ball and also the bacon ball(s). The apple cheddar ball will have to be grated from a block of extra sharp, and I suspect that’s the one I’m going to need emulsifiers for.
I started out at first with just 1½ tsp. of Worcestershire (equivalent to 3 tsp. in the full recipe), and 1 tsp. of garlic. As the mixing went along, this turned out to be not enough liquid, because the cheese clumped up into one big lump and started flinging itself around the processor’s mixing bowl. I added more garlic to taste. Then I still wasn’t satisfied with the liquid content, and added the lemon juice. At that point things came together well enough that I was satisfied.
Once the ball was complete, I scraped down the mixing bowl and got everything onto a sheet of wax paper. I used the wax paper to help me form a ball, since I wasn’t using gloves and the cheese would have stuck to my hands; it doesn’t stick much to the wax paper. Once I had a good ball shape, I poured out some Italian bread crumbs on a paper plate and rolled the ball around in that. I gave it a few good rolls and coated it everywhere until the surface was nice and dry. Then it went into the fridge, with plastic wrap.
A 4 oz. ball is a decent size for me, maybe 2½ inches across. I think the full-sized ball will be a decent size. Most cheese ball recipes I find online use 8 oz. of cream cheese and 8 oz. of some other cheese, or else they do a full pound of cream cheese, so they’ll tend to be much bigger. The 8 oz. ball I believe will come out smaller than my fist, but with two other balls alongside it I think it’ll be just fine. As for my mixer, it appears it can handle 2 cups of cheese, but it’ll probably take longer to mix thoroughly.
Now for the final results: After cooling in the fridge for several hours, I took it out. It felt extremely hard, but a butter knife cut into it without a lot of problems. The cheese ball fractured when cut, so that a big chunk of it came off the rest, but I’m fine with that. The cheese turned out to still be pretty spreadable even when a bit cold, although I think a smidge more liquid wouldn’t go awry. It was just a smidge crumbly.
As for the flavor, it was terrific. I was worried that I didn’t use enough Worcestershire sauce, but the cheese ended up much tangier after having time for the flavors to come together in the fridge. I’m thrilled with the savory ball results. The only change I think I’ll make is the addition of at least a teaspoon more liquid (for the full size, that is). Since I have adequate Worcestershire sauce, and I think the lemon juice is set, that means either water, possibly honey, or—this might be crazy—teriyaki sauce. Yeah, teriyaki is probably crazy.