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Getting Started with Making Cheese

So, you want to learn how to make cheese? Here are the basic steps tothe cheese making process. This isn’t meant to be a recipe, but it will help familiarize yourself with what all is involved as you look at getting started making cheese. Below we also recommend great books with awesome recipes that are perfect for home cheese making, as well as cheese making kits to make the process easy for you.

Use Fresh, Warm Milk
Freshermilk always produces more delicious cheese. Therefore, it is recommended to buy your milk the same day that you plan to make it into cheese. There are usually two ways to warm the milk, it is either you get it still warm from the udder (that is from a dairy farm directly) or remove it from the fridge and warm slowly in a large pot over a stovetop.

Acidify the Milk
You can make cheese in several ways, but the first thing to consider is how to acidify the milk. One of the ways to acidify the milk is to add acid, such as citric acid or vinegar into the milk and get the correct acidity. This process is known as direct acidification, which produces cheese like mascarpone and ricotta. Another method is to add cultures to the milk. With time, suitable temperature, and absence of competitor bacteria, the cultures will consume the lactose in the milk, converting it into lactic acid.

Add a Coagulant
Rennet is the commonest coagulant,and it is an enzyme that makes the proteins in milk link together. Though ‘rennet’ is a vague word – it can mean traditional rennet, bacterial rennet/vegetable rennet, or microbial rennet. So, it is better to use the broad term ‘coagulant’ for emphasis, or ‘plant coagulants,’ that is sap from fig trees or milk thistle. Mix the liquid milk with the coagulant and wait for it to form a gel.

Test Gel for Firmness
Having given the rennet ample time to work on the proteins in the milk, it will then convert the milk from a liquid form into a gel. To test the doneness of the gel, simply place a hand on the surface of the milk and check the firmness.

Cut the curd
What you want to do next is to cut the curd from a giant blob into smaller chunks or cubes. This can be done with a knife, ‘cheese harp’ or whisk. It should be noted that the size to which you cut the curds will determine moisture content in your final cheese. Smaller pieces of cheese tend to be drier and more durable than the larger sizes.

Stir, Cook, and Wash the Curd
Depending on the recipe, you will have to stir the curds in the vat for several minutes or even an hour. While stirring, you’ll have to turn on the heat and cook the curds. What is actually happening during this phase is that acid is constantly developing inside the curd with the curd drying out from the motion of your stirring. The more you stir and cook, the drier your cheese will become.

Washing implies removing some of the whey from the vat and substituting it with water, creating a sweeter, milder, and more elastic cheese and paste.

Drain the Curds
Now it’s time to separate the curds from the whey. You can do this by simply putting the contents of the vat into a colander in a sink, and waiting for about 10 minutes to let the curds settle to the bottom. After that, press the curds together and remove them from the pot in chunks.

Salt and Age the Cheese
After separating the curds from the whey, you can add salt now before moving the curds to their final form. You then pressthe cheese into a wheel before adding salt again (depending on your type of cheese).A properly saltedcheesethat is also acidified and with the right amount of moisture in it can be aged into different types of cheese. It can also be eaten immediately after making it.


This video provides a good overview of the cheesemaking process:



Below are some comprehensive cheese making kits and books/recipes to help you take cheese making to the next level. They cover everything you need to know with cheese making.

Cheese making kits

 

Product

Visual

Highlights

Where to Buy

Standing Stone Farms Ultimate Cheese Making Kit

This kit is exactly the same as our Supreme Kit without OUR INSTRUCTIONAL DVD ~ Packaged in a “READY TO GIFT” box!

Standing Stone Farms Basic Beginner Cheese Making Kit

Our Basic (Well, Not-So-Basic) kit contains all the ingredients (except the dairy products) you need to make the following Fresh Delicious Cheeses: Mozzarella, Chevre, Goat Cheese, Queso Blanco, Queso Fresco, Mascarpone and Ricotta.

Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit

This kit includes 8-ounce citric acid 8-ounce cheese salt 10 tablets of vegetable rennet 1 yard butter muslin 1 thermometer 1 recipe booklet.

Rickis Basic Cheese Making Kit

This kit contains a recipe booklet, basic cheese kit mold, coarse cheesecloth, dairy thermometer, calcium chloride, vegetable rennet tablets, mesophilic culture and thermophilic culture.

Roaring Brook Dairy Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit

Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit. Make the freshest mozzarella cheese in your home in an hour.

 

Cheese makingRecipes

 

Product

Visual

Highlights

Where to Buy

Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses

In this home cheese making primer, Ricki Carrol presents basic techniques that will have you whipping up delicious cheeses of every variety in no time.

Artisan Cheese Making at Home: Techniques & Recipes for Mastering World-Class Cheeses

Just a century ago, cheese was still a relatively regional and European phenomenon, and cheese making techniques were limited by climate, geography, and equipment.

The Beginner’s Guide to Cheese Making: Easy Recipes and Lessons to Make Your Own Handcrafted Cheeses

Say you love cheese and anyone within earshot will agree, because from Ricotta to Havarti and Gouda to Brie, cheese is quite simply amazing.

Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide for Home-Scale and Market Producers

The key to becoming a successful artisan cheesemaker is to develop the intuition essential for problem solving and developing unique styles of cheeses.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cheese Making

The Complete Idiot’s Guide(r) to Cheese Making is for both the hobbyist who will enjoy this traditional skill and organic food enthusiasts interested in wholesome, additive-free foods, offering readers the step-by-step process for making all variety of cheeses.

The Beginner’s Guide to Cheese Making: Easy Recipes and Lessons to Make Your Own Handcrafted Cheeses

Say you love cheese and anyone within earshot will agree, because from Ricotta to Havarti and Gouda to Brie, cheese is quite simply amazing.

One-Hour Cheese: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Chèvre, Paneer–Even Burrata. Fresh and Simple Cheeses You Can Make in an Hour or Less!

It’s a DIY cook’s dream come true: It’s pizza night, and you’ve made not only the crust and sauce but the mozzarella, too. Or you’re whipping up quesadillas for a snack, using your homemade Triple Pepper Hack.