How to Make Cheese - Homemade Cheese and DIY Cheesemaking Tips
Learning how to make cheese can be easier than you think. The basic ingredients will vary, but for a very simple cheese, you only need a few ingredients. It is usually easy to find these right in your kitchen cabinet or pantry. The more sophisticated cheese making methods will call for store-bought ingredients such as rennet and culture. A basic, easy to make cheese will need the following items:
Ingredients and Utensils Needed
Photo courtesy of Audrius Meskauskas
Basic items you will need are:
- Large stainless steel pot with lid for milk
- Mixing bowls (at least 2)
- Measuring cups
- Cheese cloth (This can be a piece of clean white cotton fabric or a large white handkerchief)
- Stainless steel stirring spoon
- Long stainless steel knife (To slice the cheese)
- A mold (to give the cheese shape)
- 8 Cups milk farm-fresh milk (Pasteurized milk or milk powder can be used)
- ½ cup lemon juice or vinegar
- A pinch of salt
Basic Tips on How to Make Cheese
- Put the milk into the pot and heat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit; use the thermometer to check the temperature. Stir constantly while heating.
- Add the butter, sugar and salt while stirring to avoid the milk burning
- Add the lemon juice (vinegar) while still stirring and turn off the stove
- The lemon will result in the milk separating into curds (solids) and whey (liquid)
- After approximately 15 minutes, put the sieve (strainer) with the cheesecloth spread and tucked into it over a large bowl. Pour the contents of the saucepan into it and leave for about one hour until the whey drains out leaving the curds behind. Make sure the bottom of the sieve is not sitting in the whey.
- Fold the cheesecloth at the top and press down into the sieve to get most of the remaining moisture out. Alternatively, you can use a cheese press to squeeze the remaining whey from the curds.
- Open the cloth, add the salt and mix together with a spoon. At this stage, you can add herbs or other flavorings if you want to experiment.
- You can form the cheese into a ball or place in a mold to get the shape you wish. If you put it in a mold, it will be easier to slice the cheese when you are ready to use it. Be sure to use the mold before the cheese starts to harden. Once this happens, the cheese will not take the shape of the mold.
- Refrigerate once it hardens. Like store bought types, this cheese will spoil easily if left out in a warm room.
You can buy a cheese press or mold in a store that sells cheese making equipment and ingredients. If you want to keep costs down, you can also make your own if you are handy with craft or you can pay someone to build you simple ones. Most guides on how to make cheese will provide some tips on making molds and cheese presses from wood and other easy to find materials.
Note: This recipe will yield about a half pound of cheese.
As you gain more experience in making cheese you can try using different types of vinegar to get the curds and whey to separate. The various recipes on how to make cheese will vary depending on the sophistication of the method you use. One such method will require purchasing the following additional ingredients:
- Rennet: This is necessary in the process of separating the curds and whey and it can replace vinegar or lemon juice. Nowadays both animal-based and plant based rennet are available in health food stores.
- Culture: It is not difficult to obtain this at most natural health food stores. This helps the curdling process as well as resulting in the cheese having different flavors. Culture contains acids, bacteria and molds.
As seen from the above, the basic steps in how to make cheese are the same regardless of the type of cheese. Experimentation is a good way to make different varieties of cheese with your own signature touch.
Warning: Do not use red vinegar.
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