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How to Make Cheese
Cheese MakingMaking your own cheese is easy and fun. With a few ingredients, equipment, and a good book, you are well on your way to making any kind of cheese you would like.
The following tips are also very helpful when making cheese. For complete Cheese making instructions you will need the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll.
Use non-chlorinated water, as chlorine can stop the action of rennet entirely. Spring or Distilled water works very well.
For the Lactose Intolerant, locally made soy milk can be a great alternative to animal milks for making soft cheeses. If you allergic to Cow's Milk, Goat's can be used to make a large variety of cheeses.
Completely milk-free and animal product-free soft cheese is able to be made from locally produced soy milk with the addition of Vegetarian Rennet Tablets or Liquid Vegetarian Rennet.
When using vegetable rennet, it’s important that you also use Calcium Chloride!
Pasteurizing your own milk is simple—so you should feel free to experiment with raw milk from a local dairy.
Choose your milk wisely! You need to do a few different things, for instance, if you’re using cow’s milk than if you’re using goat’s milk.
Avoid using calcium chloride when making mozzarella, because it may keep the cheese from stretching during the last stage of the process!
The use of cheese cultures/molds when appropriate can help tremendously by ‘killing’ unwanted molds and covering the cheese in a more pleasing color and outer texture. Ash can help the mold by neutralizing the cheese surface.
Keep your equipment clean and well sanitized to prevent unwanted mold growth in your kitchen. To clean your utensils, you can rinse in cold water then in hot water to prevent milk stone. To sterilize your counters and equipment (including molds), you may dip them or spray them with Sani-Clean. No rinsing is needed.
Choose your equipment wisely! Aluminum and cast-iron pots should not be considered in cheese making because of the reaction of acids with metallic salts. When absorbed by the curds, these salts will cause unpleasant metallic flavors. They will also corrode your pots.
Heat your milk slowly. Avoid direct use of the stove top to heat your milk. Use of a double boiler, hot water bath or warm setting on a slow cooker work very well in heating your milk.
Using a good digital thermometer which reads temperatures quickly and accurately is very helpful when heating your milk.
How To Make Mozzarella CheeseIngredients: 1 Gallon Whole Milk (not ultra-pasteurized), 1 ¼ Cups Cool Water (chlorine-free), 1 ½ Teaspoons Citric Acid, 1/4 Rennet Tablet , 1 Teaspoon Cheese Salt
Equipment: Heat Source, Cooking Pot – Non-Aluminum, Thermometer, Colander, Slotted Spoon, Long Knife, Microwaveable Bowl, Spatula, Rubber Gloves
1. Dissolve ¼ rennet tablet into ¼ Cup of cool, chlorine-free water. Stir and set aside. Wrap the remaining pieces of tablet in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.
2. Mix 1 ½ Teaspoons Citric Acid into 1/2 Cup cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.
3. Pour 1 Gallon of milk into your pot and stir vigorously while adding the Citric Acid solution.
4. Slowly Heat the milk to 90 degrees F while stirring.
5. Remove the pot from the burner and slowly stir in the Rennet Solution with an up and down motion for approximately 30 seconds.
6. Cover the pot and leave it undisturbed for 5 minutes or more.
7. Check the curd. It should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curd and the whey. If the curd is too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes.
8. Cut the curd into squares with a knife that reaches to the bottom of your pot.
9. Place the pot back on the heat source and heat to 105 degrees F while slowly moving the curds with your spoon.
10. Take pot off the heat source and continue slowly stirring for 2 – 5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese).
11. Pour off the floating whey.
12. Ladle your curds into a large microwaveable bowl and drain off as much whey as you can without pressing the curds too much. Use rubber gloves if needed.
13. Place the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. 14. Remove and drain off the whey as you gently fold the curds into one piece. Add Cheese Salt mixing thoroughly.
15. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Drain again and stretch the curd. It must be 135 degrees F to stretch properly. If it is not hot enough, microwave another 30 seconds.
16. Stretch the cheese by pulling like taffy until it is smooth and shiny. The more you work the cheese the firmer it will be.
17. Now form your cheese into a log, a ball, braid it, shape it into bite size pieces or even make it into string cheese.
18. When finished, submerge it in 50 degrees F water to cool for 5 minutes and then in ice water for 15 minutes. This will cool it down and allow the cheese to hold its shape. This step is critical as it protects the silky texture and keeps it from becoming grainy.
Options For Your CheeseAfter stretching, you can roll the cheese out and add a layer of prosciutto, herbs de Provence, pesto or other delicious herbal combination. Then roll it up into a log and plunge it into ice water. When serving cut into slices and you will have a colorful delight.
If you are not ready to eat this cheese on the spot, you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. It can be wrapped in saran wrap or stored in an air tight container. You can also freeze it and reheat it when ready for use. If you want to just make your curds and stretch them later you can put them in a plastic bag, refrigerate and work with them in a few days.