How to Make
Cheese in 7 Basic Steps
to make cheese in 7
basic steps with
equipment that you can
find in your kitchen
at home. Cheese making is very satisfying. Just make sure that all
cheese making equipment has been thoroughly sterilized before you use
it as rogue bacteria will spoil your final product.
The 6 Main Types of Cheese
When you first start making cheese
you will probably start off with a simple cottage cheese, as this is
one of the easiest cheeses to make. However, despite using the same
ingredients, there are 6 different main types of cheese.
1. Hard : Parmesan
2. Semi-Soft Smooth : Port du Salut, Taleggio, Munster
3. Semi-Soft Crumbly : Blue veined Roquefort
4. Firm: Swiss, Cheddar
5. Soft and Ripened: Brie, Camembert,
6. Fresh and Soft: Cottage cheese, Cream Cheese, Mozzarella
cheese you make, other than fresh and soft cheese, all the others
should stand at room temperature for 2 - 3 hours before serving as it
tastes better than serving it cold from the fridge.
these days is almost
impossible to get hold of for cheese making, unless of course you have
Daisy in the
backyard that you milk twice a day. But for many of us who want to make
cheese, we have to rely on making cheese from store bought milk.
Where you can, buy whole milk that has been pasteurized as it has a
higher butterfat content than low-fat milk, and you need this property
in the milk, but don't buy homogenized milk.
If you are buying store-bought milk to make your cheese you will need
to add calcium chloride
back into the
as the pasteurization process removes this from the
Adding calcium chloride into the milk will help firm up the curd.
Having said that, I have made cheese quite successfully with store
bought non-homogenized milk without adding any calcium chloride back.
Using UHT milk for cheese making is also never successful
as the high heating process it goes through affects the whey proteins
and your milk will not form curds.
When purchasing your milk for making
homemade cheese, just make sure that it is fresh.
Rennet and Cultures for Making Cheese Rennet
for you milk to coagulate. You can get animal rennet that comes from
the lining of livestock's stomachs, or you get vegetarian rennet that is made from certain plants.
one will work well and comes in either tablet of liquid form from
cheese suppliers. 3 drops of liquid rennet or 1/2 tablet rennet are
usually diluted in a 1/4 cup of cool water.
See here if you are interested in making your own liquid rennet.
Cultures are either mesophilic
is an example of a
thermophilic culture, while
is an example of a
mesophilic culture. You can either make
your own cultures, or you can buy them from you local cheese supplier.
STEP 1: HOW TO MAKE
CHEESE - EQUIPMENT
Traditional Cheese Making Equipment
You will need a large,
heavy-based pot for warming the milk in and a colander
to assist in draining the whey. You will also need a ladle
that has holes in the bottom to allow the curds to drain off the whey. Cheesecloth
or butter muslin is required to further help in draining the
You will also need a long-handled knife
to cut the curds and a thermometer that can clamp
onto the edge of the pot. This is important, because if you don't you
will be measuring the heat of the pot itself, not the contents.
Finally, if you want your cheese to look fancy you can buy a cheese
mold. However, I have made do with round stainless steel
cutlery holders, which work just as well, or plastic bowls that have
holes to allow the whey to drain off.
STEP 2: HOW TO MAKE CHEESE - BRING MILK TO ROOM TEMPERATURE
To be successful with
cheese making, you will need to bring your milk to room temperature
before you start. You can do this by taking the milk out of the fridge
for 1-2 hours before hand, so that you can start.
STEP 3: HOW TO MAKE
CHEESE - HEAT THE MILK
When making any type of
cheese the next
step is to heat the milk. This is necessary for the sugar in the milk
to covert to lactic acid. The presence of lactic acid is necessary for
your milk to coagulate and helps the curd separate from the whey.
STEP 4: HOW TO MAKE
CHEESE - HOMEMADE STARTERS and COMMERCIAL STARTERS
Your starters are those
react with the milk, further aiding the process of converting the
sugars to lactic acid.
These starters may be lemon juice, vinegar,
buttermilk, yogurt, or dried cultures from cheese suppliers in the
form of mesophilic or thermophilic cultures, each of which when added,
will result in a different type of cheese.
your own Natural Cheese Starter
You can make your own
homemade cheese starter for cheese making. Although not
difficult to do, and although the recipe below is an old, traditional
recipe, many people stopped using it because a homemade cheese starter
didn't give standardized results. As a result commercial starters were
then favored. However, for those of you you looking for a homemade
cheese stater recipe, here it is.
about 1 quart of clean, new milk and place in a previously-scalded
vessel and allow to stand in a clean area till it sours.
- If the temperature has been kept at from 70 to 75
Fahrenheit, souring will take place in about 24 hours.
top is skimmed off and thrown away, and the remainder well stirred into
2 or 3 gallons of separated milk, which has been previously heated to a
temperature of 185 Fahrenheit, for 20 minutes, and then cooled to 75 or
- This is again put aside for a further 24 hours, and it is
stirred occasionally at first.
- By the next day the starter will be ready for use.
fresh lot of separated milk is inoculated each day with a little of the
starter, and you now have a continuous supply of homemade starter for
Sufficient starter should be added to each lot of
separated milk to ensure its souring in from 20 to 24 hours. After
being in use for some time a starter will need renewing, the length of
time it will take to renew will depend on what sort of conditions it
has been kept in.
If the homemade stater has been kept in clean
conditions, the separated milk properly pasteurized, and the top always
skimmed off and thrown away before using, it will last for a
However, if the homemade stater is kept under less favourable
conditions it will need to be replaced more regularly.
Always keep your starter covered with a piece of thin muslin to keep
out dust, etc., without excluding the air.
fresh lot of separated milk is inoculated each day with a little of the
starter, and a continuous supply thus maintained for use.
When you add your starter, make sure
that it is well stirred through the milk for even distribution. After
that, leave the milk alone and don't touch it so that the coagulation
process can take place.
STEP 5: HOW TO MAKE
CHEESE - ADDING RENNET
After your milk has been
left to ripen,
you can start adding your rennet. However, using rennet is a bit of a
science as if you add too little, your milk won't develop curds, and if
you add too much, your milk will give you curds that are too dense.
Dilute your rennet as
above, and when
you add it to the milk, stir it thoroughly for even distribution. After
the rennet has been added, the milk is again left undisturbed so that
the curds can form.
STEP 6: HOW TO MAKE
CHEESE - CLEAN BREAK & CUTTING
When your curd has
formed, and you have
the clean break that you are looking for, you will need to take that
long-handled knife mentioned earlier and cut the curd into 1-2 inch
blocks. When doing this make sure that the knife goes all the way down
to the bottom of the pot.
So how do you know when
your curd has
reached that stage of a clean break? If you put your finger into the
curd and pull upwards the curd should break away and whey should pool
in the hole that has been left behind. If it doesn't, you will need to
wait a little longer. Patience! ...
STEP 7: HOW TO MAKE
CHEESE - CURDS & WHEY
This part of the
process always reminds
me of Little Miss Muffet! However, I digress! Back to the job of cheese
making. What you want for making cheese is of course the curds.
However, never throw the liquid, called the whey, out.
Any excess whey can be fed to chickens and pigs on the homestead. More
importantly, as a baker it is like manna from heaven. Substituting milk
or water for whey in muffins, homemade
bread, pancakes and cakes
will result in
an excellent finished product, light and moist; you will surprised at
Place your butter muslin, or
cheesecloth in a colander and with your slotted spoon, scoop the curds
out of the pot and into the colander. Collect the whey at the bottom by
placing your colander in another bowl. Leave it to drain like this
until all excess whey has been removed.
So you can see, that by
making sure that your equipment has been
sterilized, and that you have the right type of milk, rennet and
cultures, in 7 easy steps, you too could me making homemade cheese. We
have a number of Cheese
Making Recipes, from the simple to the more
complicated if you are ready to start.
RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON HOW
TO MAKE CHEESE
You can Add your Own
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