Getting started with cheesemaking.It's not as difficult as you might think it is
So you want to get started making cheese and have no idea where to begin? It's easier than you might think! I have written a book that is loaded with useful recipes which I have formulated over the years in my own kitchen. They are tested, tried and true and they really do work. I personally milk goats, but my recipes work equally well for cow's milk also.
Let's start with the easiest cheese to make and work our way up to hard cheeses. The easiest to make is a soft cheese, but I think it is also my best and most versatile cheese and can be used hundreds of different ways. This cheese can be frozen, used in place of cream cheese, made into seasoned balls, dips and spreads. This is one cheese every home dairy should have in its collection of cheesemaking recipes.
First, you must have good tasting milk! This is critical to any good cheese. Bad milk will not make good cheese. It is best to taste test each of your dairy animals to make sure each individual is producing sweet, good milk. To do this just milk a little into separate jars and when you bring it into the house, strain over ice and taste immediately. If it is not sweet and good then, it never will be. From there you can work on the problem.
Second, you must properly handle, cool and/or pasteurize pas·teur·ize
To treat by pasteurization. the milk.
Use only milk filters designed for that job. Don't be cheap here. They cost less than 4 cents each and are worth it. Paper towels have worked in a pinch for me, but they are no match for good milk filters. Do not try to use coffee filters. The milk will not drain through them at all.
Pasteurizers are available, but it is not necessary to have one to pasteurize your milk. An enamel or stainless pot, a candy thermometer and an old extra pot to set the first pot in are all you need. It only takes me 10 minutes to pasteurize my milk.
Strain your milk into the stainless or enamel pot, and hang the thermometer on the side, making sure that it reaches into the milk. Place this pot into another one, double boiler double boiler
A cooking utensil consisting of two nested pans, designed to allow slow, even cooking or heating of food in the upper pan by the action of water boiling in the lower.
Noun 1. style, and add water to the outside pot. I have an old Dutch Old Dutch
Old Low Franconian. oven that I use only for this purpose. If you don't have one, a thrifty person could easily find something like this at a garage sale.
Heat your milk to 161 degrees, give it a quick stir to make sure the temperature is even throughout, and take the pot of milk out of the water and place it in a sink of cold water. Replace the cold water as needed as needed prn. See prn order. or use ice around the pot.
Good dairy standards say that you should have the milk cooled to 40 degrees or less in 30 minutes. This applies even if you drink your milk raw.
Many people make the mistake of straining their milk into clean jars, then placing it in the refrigerator to cool. Big mistake! When you place something warm into the refrigerator, how long does it take for the center of the food to become cool? Much longer than you might think. The result is that you have taken a product (milk)which is a perfect medium for bacteria and allowed that bacteria to multiply very rapidly. When you make cheese, the culture, which is also a bacteria, must compete with the already prolific bad bacteria. This can be a major reason for failures in cheesemaking.
Equipment needed for soft cheese
A stainless or enamel pot. Long spoon to stir milk. Milk cultured buttermilk buttermilk
residual fluid after removal of fat from milk in butter manufacture; a protein-rich supplement fed to pigs. or cheese culture. Liquid rennet rennet, substance containing rennin, an enzyme having the property of clotting, or curdling, milk. It is used in the making of cheese and junket. Rennet is obtained from the stomachs of young mammals living on milk, especially from the inner lining of the fourth, or , animal or vegetable. Muslin muslin, general name for plain woven fine white cottons for domestic use. It is believed that muslins were first made at Mosul (now a city of Iraq). They were widely made in India, from where they were first imported to England in the late 17th cent. type cloth and a clean shoelace.
Use only stainless or unchipped enamel pans to make cheese. Do not use aluminum, as the acidity of the cheese will cause a reaction with the aluminum and it will leach into the cheese.
Any type of milk will work, either cow or goat, as long as the milk is good and sweet. (Cheese is also made from the milk of sheep and mares.) It is best to use pasteurized milk Noun 1. pasteurized milk - milk that has been exposed briefly to high temperatures to destroy microorganisms and prevent fermentation
milk - a white nutritious liquid secreted by mammals and used as food by human beings for all your cheesemaking. You will have more consistent results with fewer failures. Making cheese is like a big science project. The reason for adding culture to the milk is to raise the acidic level and produce flavor. Culture is basically a good bacteria. If there is already too much "bad" bacteria growing in the milk, the good bacteria will not have a chance to grow and flourish.
Most cheeses will call for a mesophilic culture. Mesophilic culture is a nonheat-loving culture and is contained in buttermilk. Therefore, buttermilk makes a good substitute whenever a recipe calls for a mesophilic culture.
The other type of culture used in cheesemaking is a thermophilic ther·mo·phil·ic
Requiring high temperatures for normal development, as certain bacteria. . This is a heat-loving culture and can take temperatures of 120 degrees or more. This type of culture is used for making many Italian type cheeses. Thermophilic culture is also contained in yogurt.
When buying rennet, choose the liquid over the tablet whenever possible. It can make a bigger variety of cheeses and is cheaper to use. It is a must for the soft type cheeses.
Use a muslin type cloth for draining the cheese. Do not buy cheesecloth cheese·cloth
A coarse, loosely woven cotton gauze, originally used for wrapping cheese.
a light, loosely woven cotton cloth
Noun 1. from the grocery store. This will not drain the cheese and its holes are too large. The cheese will run right through them. We use old pillow cases with the seams opened up to make a nice yard square of cloth. These can be washed, bleached and used over and over again.
Old shoelaces work great for hanging the cheese to drain. I take them out of worn out shoes and wash them in hot water and bleach. Tie knots in the ends of each lace. That way when you tie the cloth in a bow and hang it to drain it will not slip out and fall down.
Soft cheese recipe
5 quarts whole milk
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
2 tablespoons diluted rennet (dilution is 3 drops liquid rennet into 1/3 cup cool water)
Recipe makes about 1 1/2-2 lbs. rich cream style cheese.
Warm the milk to 80 degrees. Stir in the buttermilk, mix well and add the 2 tablespoons of diluted rennet mixture. Stir well and cover. Let set at room temperature for 8-12 hours. The cheese is ready to drain when it looks like thickened thick·en
tr. & intr.v. thick·ened, thick·en·ing, thick·ens
1. To make or become thick or thicker: Thicken the sauce with cornstarch. The crowd thickened near the doorway.
2. yogurt. It sometimes will have a thin layer of whey whey
liquid residue from milk after the removal of cheese curds in the manufacture of cheese. An excellent protein supplement but difficult to handle in the liquid form, except to pigs maintained close to the cheese factory. Dried whey is easy to handle but processing costs are high. floating on the top. Line a large bowl or pan with muslin type cloth, such as the pillow case talked about earlier. Pour the cheese into it, and tie and hang to drain for 6-8 hours. You can speed up the draining process by scraping the sides of the bag towards the center several times during this draining process.
When the bag of curds curd
1. The part of milk that coagulates when the milk sours or is treated with enzymes. Curd is used to make cheese.
2. A coagulated liquid that resembles milk curd.
intr. & tr.v. has stopped dripping, the cheese should be the consistency of cream cheese. Use as desired for an endless variety of treats. It freezes very well; however, it is best to freeze it unseasoned as freezing can weaken herbs and spices. Freeze it plain and season after thawing.
Note: This is a soft, mild cheese. It can be seasoned with a variety of herbs or spices. You can use it as a substitute for cream cheese.
Helpful hints for the soft cheese
Substitutions for cultured buttermilk: Use equal amounts of mesophilic culture or slightly less than 1/8 teaspoon of mesophilic DVI (1) (Digital Video Interactive) An earlier compression technique that provided up to 72 minutes of full-screen video on a CD-ROM. Acquired by Intel in 1988 from RCA's Sarnoff Research labs, Princeton, NJ, DVI never caught on. (Direct Vat Inoculant in·oc·u·lant
See inoculum. ) culture.
Muslin type cloth (like pillow case material) is the only type of cloth that will work for draining this type of cheese.
This recipe is fairly flexible. It does not take a lot of time. Most of the time is spent sitting on the back of the cupboard, taking care of itself.
Get the freshest buttermilk you can get. Use the correct amount of rennet. Too much and the cheese will be rubbery, too little and the cheese will drain right through the cloth.
If your cheese is almost drained and you wish to hurry the process, lay a clean sheet, folded in quarters, on your table. Place a clean pillow case on the sheet. Leave half the pillow case hanging over the edge of the table. Spread the curds onto half the cloth. Fold the other half so the curds appear to be enclosed in the pillow case cloth. Fold over the sheet on top of that and roll up jelly roll Jelly roll can refer to:
tr.v. en·cased, en·cas·ing, en·cas·es
To enclose in or as if in a case.
en·casement n. curds onto a dry sheet to continue the process. When the cheese is ready it will easily roll off the cloth and stick to itself.
Seasonings can be worked into the cheese with a spatula spatula /spat·u·la/ (spach´u-lah) [L.]
1. a wide, flat, blunt, usually flexible instrument of little thickness, used for spreading material on a smooth surface.
2. a spatulate structure. on a clean cupboard or table. A plate or cookie sheet works well too. Herbs or spices can be mixed into the cheese or rolled to coat the outside only. You can use fruits or nuts to make a dessert cheese or try any combinations of herbs you might like. Use your imagination to come up with a nice assortment of your own original cheeses.
You can make up lots of this cheese during your peak milk production times and freeze for later use. It is easier if you measure or weigh your cheese and freeze in one-pound packages. Freeze plain, no salt, and press each package flat, expelling all the air. You can stack a lot of cheese in a small space when it is packaged like this.
Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I have even thawed some in the microwave when unexpected company showed up and I wanted to serve them some of my cheese.
Recipes using soft cheese
French onion cheese balls or logs
1 lb. soft cheese
3 tablespoons minced onion (dried but softened with warm water; squeeze out any excess liquid when you measure out the tablespoons.)
1 teaspoon kosher or canning salt (any noniodized salt)
Mix together well and shape into logs or balls.
Use above onion recipe. When shaped, roll outside of cheese into cracked or coarse black pepper black pepper
Perennial, woody climbing vine (Piper nigrum) of the family Piperaceae, native to India; also, the hotly pungent spice made from its berries. . Seasoned pepper tastes great also.
Dill & garlic
1 lb. soft cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 teaspoon kosher or canning salt
Mix together well, roll outside of cheese in parsley or decorate with pickle slices if desired.
Western ranch seasoning mix
2 T. seasoned salt Noun 1. seasoned salt - combination of salt and vegetable extracts and spices and monosodium glutamate
flavorer, flavoring, flavourer, flavouring, seasoning, seasoner - something added to food primarily for the savor it imparts
2 T. parsley flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder Onion powder is a spice used for seasoning in cooking. It is made from finely ground dehydrated onions, mainly the pungent varieties of bulb onions, which causes the powder to have a very strong smell.
Mix seasonings in a jar with a tight fitting Adj. 1. tight fitting - fitting snugly; "a tightly-fitting cover"; "tight-fitting clothes"
tight-fitting, tightfitting, tightly fitting, skinny
tight - closely constrained or constricted or constricting; "tight skirts"; "he hated tight starched collars"; lid. Shake well.
This seasoning mix can also be used to make a western ranch style salad dressing. Mix up several batches of this at once as it comes in handy to have some on the shelf. Works like ranch mixes from the store.
Western ranch cheese
1 lb. soft cheese
3 tsp. western ranch seasoning mix from above
Mix into cheese well and shape into logs or balls
Western ranch salad dressing
3 tsp. western ranch seasoning mix from above recipe
1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
Mix well, refrigerate re·frig·er·ate
tr.v. re·frig·er·at·ed, re·frig·er·at·ing, re·frig·er·ates
1. To cool or chill (a substance).
2. To preserve (food) by chilling. , use as dressing for salads.
Hardy perennial plant (Armoracia lapathifolia) of the mustard family, native to Mediterranean lands and grown throughout the temperate zones. Its hotly pungent, fleshy root is used as a condiment and is traditionally considered medicinal. cheddar spread
8 oz. soft cheese
2 pkgs. cheddar powder (see note below)
1 tsp. sugar
4 T. or more of horseradish, juice and all
Mix all together with mixer. Add a little extra milk if needed to make a nice spreading consistency. Makes a great party spread. Serve on crackers.
Note: To get the cheddar powder, I buy those inexpensive macaroni macaroni: see pasta. and cheese dinners that come in boxes. I take out the packages of cheddar powder and use the macaroni for other dishes.
12 vanilla wafer cookies
2 c. soft cheese
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
cherry pie Cherry pie is a pie made with a cherry filling.
Morello cherries (sour cherries) are often used in cherry pies. Cherries are expensive — and sweet varieties are best used eaten fresh and raw. Sour cherries are best for cooking and may be used fresh or preserved. filling (optional) or any flavor
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin tin A muffin tin is a pan in which muffins or cupcakes are baked. A single cup within a regular muffin tin is 3 and 1/2 ounces and most often has room for 12 muffins, although tins holding 6, 8, 11, 24, and 35 muffins do exist. with foil cupcake liners.
Crumble or lay one cookie in each cup. Mix soft cheese with egg, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Pour into each muffin cup. Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is just set. Cool in pan, then remove and refrigerate until chilled. Top each with a spoonful of pie filling if desired.
Cheesemaking supply sources
160 Providence Rd.
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Cheesemaking Supply Outlet
9155 Madison Rd.
Montville, OH 44064
pertaining to or emanating from goats.
caprine arthritis-encephalitis (CAE) Supply Co.
P.O. Box Y
33001 W. 83rd Street
Desoto, KS 66018
New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.
P.O. BOX 85
Ashfield, MA 01330