Cheese Making At Home – Tips And Techniques

In difficult economic times, people look for things to do around the house that are entertaining and do not require a great deal of money. People turn to things like arts and crafts and soap making either for their own enjoyment or to give away as gifts at the holidays. Cheese making is just one example of the many fun and educational things people can do on their own. Not only that, but cheese making produces a delicious finished product that can be enjoyed on salads, in pasta, and in a variety of other recipes.

People who have never made cheese before should start out with a basic cheese which is akin to ricotta or cottage cheese. Obviously this is not a hard cheese and will therefore require less equipment, less time, and less effort. With only three ingredients: 1 gallon of 2% milk, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt, you can make your own cheese in as little as an hour. Simply heat the milk to 190 degrees and add the vinegar. Allow the mixture to cool, then pour it into a colander to drain the whey from the curds. Transfer the curds to a bowl, add the salt, and stir well. You may have to do a little experimentation at this point, adding more or less salt as your taste dictates. Some people choose to add a little cream at this point for a silkier texture, but again, that will be entirely up to your taste.

With the success of making a simple, delicious cheese, most people are inspired to try their hand at a hard cheese. When you are ready to make a more advanced cheese, it is probably a good idea to do a little Internet research. What you are looking for is commonly known as cheese starter. Cheese starter is a colony of microscopic organisms that gives cheese its distinctive flavor. You can attempt to make your own cheese starter, but as it is a relatively risky process, it is probably best to simply buy some from an online store that sells cheese making supplies. This cheese starter will be delivered to your door in a small packet similar to a yeast envelope. The starter is in an easy to use powder form, ready to be mixed in to your cheese recipe. When making cheese, the starter will be added to the milk to help begin the process.

Any pots, pans, or utensils used in the cheese making process should be completely sterile. It is best to use stainless steel equipment with can withstand the necessarily rigorous cleaning and sanitizing processes. Everything that comes into contact with the cheese while it is being made should be either boiled in water for several minutes or cleaned with bleach and then rinsed thoroughly before coming into contact with the cheese. This ensures that the finished product will be not only delicious, but also safe to consume.

Rennet is an indispensable ingredient for those who have graduated to making more complicated cheeses. It is an enzyme which will be available from the same cheese making supplier who had the cheese starter. Rennet is available in both tablet and liquid form. Many beginners choose the tablet, but in general it is the liquid which is easier to use. The tablet requires a bit of extra preparation as it must be dissolved in sterile water for about an hour before it can be used. The liquid rennet can simply be added to the cheese recipe at the appropriate time.

Anyone seeking to make a hard cheese must also acquire a cheese press. These can be a quite expensive piece of equipment, but the dedicated cheese maker will probably find it worth the cost. Before long, you will find yourself able to make delectable cheeses suitable to be shared with family and friends in a variety of recipes.