Making Cheese at Home

Step-by-step instructions for making hard cheese at home.

| May/June 1976

The recipe that follows is a basic formula for producing natural (uncolored, unprocessed) hard cheese at home. Keep in mind, however, that domestic cheesemaking is an imprecise art at best. Many variables—such as how "ripe" the milk is, the length of time (and the temperature at which) the curd is heated, and the number of weeks of curing—affect the flavor and texture of the end product. As a result, you may find that you have to slightly adjust the techniques involved to suit your own tastes and kitchen conditions.

To begin making cheese, all you need besides milk is a floating dairy thermometer (most any immersible type will do), two enameled containers (one of which can "nest" inside the other), rennet, a long-handled spoon and knife, three or four yards of cheesecloth, a colander, a one-pound package of paraffin, a press something like the one detailed below . . . and an all-abiding appetite for good, flavorful food.

(Our thanks to Chas. Hansen Laboratory, Inc. for providing much of the information presented here.)

1. Prepare the Milk:
Heat to 86° F

Allow four quarts of the evening's fresh whole milk (either cow's or goat's) to ripen overnight in a cold place (50—60° F). Mix in four quarts of the next morning's milk and heat the two gallons of liquid to 86° F in an enameled container. (Note: In her Old-Fashioned Recipe Book, Carla Emery forgoes the night-long ripening process, and simply begins her cheesemaking in the morning by heating all eight quarts of raw milk at once. Still others say it's all right to make cheese from pasteurized whole milk or even skimmed milk, if you add the "starter" discussed in Step 2. )

2. Add "Starter"

6/22/2014 8:19:20 PM

I make cheese for the dogs using out of date 2% milk. I start by letting it get to room temperature, then I add about a quarter cup of shreaded mozeralla cheese. I then shake the mixture and leave it on the counter at room temperature. After about two days the curds have formed and float on top of the whey. I usually punch a hole in the bottom of the milk container to drain the whey out for the dogs to lap up, then I cut the container to get the curds out. The dogs love it. Watch your container carefully and vent as needed to keep it from exploding

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