17 Easy Steps to Make Homemade Amish Cheese!

Making cheese at home, the Amish way, is easy, fun, and cost effective! Making cheese the Amish way is a great family project that will reap tasty rewards for cheesemakers of all ages!

For this project you will need a stainless steel pot, a candy thermometer, one gallon of fresh milk, a pint or less of buttermilk, one package of rennet, several tablespoons of salt, an empty tin can with one end removed, a generous supply of clean and sterile handkerchiefs, and food grade melting wax.

Patience will be required, because from start to finish, the cheesemaking process takes at least one month. Adult supervision is also required for young cheesemakers! It is recommended to start this project on the weekend when plenty of time can be devoted to the beginning stages of making your Amish cheese!

1. Use a sterilized stainless steel pot [it is very important to avoid using an aluminum pot] to warm one gallon of fresh milk to 68 degrees Farenheit.

2. Add 3 teaspoons of buttermilk. The buttermilk will add important bacteria to the milk – and the bacteria will lower the milk’s Ph to help produce lactic acid. Lactic acid will, in turn, help the rennet separate the milk into
curds later on in the cheese making process.

3. Let the milk and buttermilk mixture sit out in the stainless steel pot at room temperature overnight – or for 6 to 8 hours during the daytime.

4. After sitting out for 6 to 8 hours, it is important to warm the milk and buttermilk mixture back up – place the stainless steel pot over low heat and bring the temperature up to 30 degrees Fahren heit.

5. While the milk and buttermilk mixture warms, you can start on the next phase of cheese making – preparing the rennet. Rennet is the separation agent that will eventually cause the milk and buttermilk mixture to divide into curds of casein protein and leftover whey liquid. To prepare the rennet, use a small cup or bowl to mix a a quarter of a tablet of rennet into one fourth cup of cold water.

6. Add the rennet and cold water mixture into the re-warmed milk and buttermilk mixture [make sure the milk and buttermilk mixture has reached 30 degrees Farenheit before adding the rennet].

7. Mix the rennet completely into the milk and buttermilk. Then, let the liquid sit completely untouched for one hour. It is very important that the mixture coagulates so the next phase of cheese making can take place. Do not stir, or even touch, the mixture for at least an hour. During this hour, the rennet mixture you added to the milk and buttermilk will be causing the separation of casien and whey.

8. Test for the coagulation, or separation of casein and whey after one hour by dipping a clean finger into the milk mixture. If the milk has reached a gelatin-like consistency that falls away from your finger as you pull it out, then you are ready to move on to the next step. If the milk is still too runny to separate from your finger as you pull it out, let it sit for another hour. Do not stir or disturb your milk mixture during this time. After one hour, test it again. When you have achieved a very firm gelatin consistency that doesn’t stick to your finger when you pull it out of the mixture – you are ready to move one to the next step.

9. Using a knife that will reach to the very bottom of the stainless steel pot, cut the coagulated milk mixture into half inch curd cubes.

10. Place the pot over very low heat and use a clean hand to begin gently mixing and folding the curd cubes to separate them from each other. If you find larger cubes of curds as you mix by hand, cut them down individually into half inch cubes. To prevent clumping, continue to hand-stir the curd cubes for at least fifteen minutes.

11. For a firm cheese, allow the cube mixtureto reach a temperature of 100 or 102 degrees Fahren heit. Take care not to burn your hand – you may need to use a flexible plastic spatula or other gentle mixing tool once the temperature starts to increase. You want to keep the curd cubes on the heat until they reach the consistency of well done scrambled eggs.

12. Remove the pot from the heat. It is now time to pour the curds through a strainer to remove them from the whey liquid they are now swimming in. You can use a regular strainer, or a strainer lined with cheese cloth to catch the curds as you pour the whey liquid into the sink. [If you would like to save the whey liquid for another project, simply pour the whey liquid into a bowl].

13. Place the curd cubes in a mixing bowl, and hand-stir with two teaspoons of salt. Salt is a very important part of the cheese making process because without it, the cheese will spoil during it’s essential curing process. After you mix in the salt, check for excess whey liquid and pour it off it has collected in the bowl.

14. It’s time to press your cheese! An easy, inexpensive cheese press can be made by carefully removing both ends of a tin can and lining it with a clean, sterile handkerchief. With the can upright, fill the handkerchief inside with the warm salted curds. Cover the cheese with ends of the handkerchief. Place one of the removed tin can ends on top of the wrapped curds. A small weight, such as a rock or paperweight, should sit on the very top of the can to press down on the handkerchief wrapped curds.

15. The cheese needs to sit and cure in the tin can for at least 12 hours. The salt you added earlier will help to keep it from spoiling – without the salt, the cheese would begin to go bad from sitting out at room temperature.

16. When you remove the cheese from the can, wipe it off with a clean cloth and rub salt all over it. Admire your handiwork, then wrap the cheese back up in a sterile cloth and place it back in the fridge. The cheese needs to have it’s cloth wrapping replaced once a day, until it forms a yellow rind around the outside.

17. When the rind develops, [it usually takes at least one week ] you will know it is time to dip the cheese in melted wax. Your wax- dipped homemade cheese can be stored in the fridge for a month or more to develop flavor before consumption. The longer you store the cheese, the sharper the flavor will be. Enjoy eating your homemade Amish cheese!