Make Cheese at Home

Make cheese at home and try these quick, easy cheese recipes.

| August/September 2012

  • You don’t need a commercial kitchen to produce great-tasting fresh, soft cheese at home. Dairy products and most soft cheeses can be made in a matter of hours with equipment you probably have on hand.

There’s an old saying that cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality. And perhaps no one feels more passionately about this adage than those who make their own dairy products and soft cheeses. It’s an ancient piece of edible culture that Americans are just now beginning to appreciate.

Home-produced soft, unripened cheeses have a wholesome good taste no shop product can imitate. By making these products at home, you’ll enjoy a fascinating and satisfying craft, with a delicious and healthy end result. It’s hard to beat the fresh flavor, nutritional value and low cost of homemade fresh cheeses.

Four Homemade Cheese Recipes

• Chèvre recipe 
Feta recipe
• Homemade Cream Cheese recipe
• Homemade Mozarella recipe 

Make Cheese at Home With 3 Basic Cheese Ingredients

Milk. The basis of cheese, of course, is milk, and almost any kind will do. Raw milk (as opposed to pasteurized) can be used, but it has many more variables to work with, particularly in the handling. Raw, or unprocessed, milk contains milk fat, which rises to the top as cream. When the milk is processed, most of the cream is removed. The amount of fat remaining determines the type of milk that is produced—whole, lowfat or skim. Some cheesemakers, especially the French, prefer to use raw milk because they believe its naturally occurring bacteria adds depth of flavor. But unless you own cows or goats or are friends with a farmer, it’s not easy to find raw milk in the United States. And though it’s sometimes available at farmers’ markets or at farms themselves, in most states, it’s illegal to sell milk raw because of potential contamination. The key word here is caution: Unless you really know what you’re doing and are used to handling raw milk, the safest milk is pasteurized.

Pasteurization is the process of heating raw milk to at least 145 degrees for at least 30 minutes or to 161 degrees for 15 seconds. The milk is then cooled quickly to 45 degrees or lower. Ultraheat pasteurization involves heating the milk to 274 degrees for two to four seconds, but ultraheat pasteurized milk does not work well for making cheese. The high-heat process affects the whey proteins in the milk, and they will not form curds that are firm enough for cheese-making.

Cheese is made by coagulating, or curdling, milk solids into curds. Curds start soft, then release liquid called whey as they continue to firm. You can use any variety of pasteurized milk, but skim and lowfat varieties will yield a less rich and flavorful cheese than whole milk or cream.

8/11/2015 12:21:17 PM

Since I am on a dairy free diet, each of these varieties of milk is off limits for me. I do use canned coconut milk(full fat)though anytime I need a dairy product. Has anyone tried this - does it work?

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