Tips for the Home Cheese Maker

variety of cheese

• Cheesemaking, like brewing, is chemistry and not cooking. You cannot double or divide a cheese or beer recipe as you would cookie dough. Nor will multiplication work as it would with a baker’s formula for bread dough. The reason for this is that cheese recipes are designed specifically for a set volume of milk. The cultures and enzymes added to the milk induce specific reactions, multiplying or dividing them may not give you the desired results. For example, by doubling the rennet, the curds will form faster but you will not get more curd and excess rennet will make the cheese bitter. Increased or decreased milk volume will completely change the thermodynamics of the process, requiring a completely new set of process times and controls.

• Use a back and forth or up and down motion when stirring milk during cheesemaking, not a circular motion. Doing so generates a vortex and will cause heavier ingredients, including curd to collect in the center rather than be evenly distributed.

• Rinse used cheesecloth with cold water to remove any residue. Boil the washed cloth and hang to dry. Store the dry, clean cloth in a zip lock bag.

• Light cream is a grade of dairy product sometimes called coffee cream but should not be confused with half-and-half. The USDA defines light cream as containing not less than 18% and no more than 30% milk fat whereas half-and-half contains between 10% and 18%. In a pinch half-and-half may be substituted but it will result in a slightly less creamy texture and flavor due to the reduced fat.

• Cheesemaking regularly requires the use of distilled water, there is no substitute. Distilled water is pure H2O, all of the minerals, treatment chemicals and impurities have been removed by distillation. This is very important because some of those elements, especially the trace chlorine used in tap water, will inhibit or deactivate the enzymes required to make cheese.

• Too much stirring of rennet may prevent curds from knitting back together in later recipe steps.

• Not all microwaves are equal! If the cheese does not mass together you will need to leave it in the microwave longer. It will not hurt to increase your microwave time by 10 to 15 seconds, more if necessary. Note the total time needed for future reference.

• When shopping for dairy products, take along a picnic cooler with some ice in it. Place the dairy goods and any other perishables in the cooler for the trip home. You never know when you might be sidetracked.

homemade cheese tray

Cheese Making

Making Cheese is Easy When You Use Our Supplies and Methods.