How To Make Fresh Homemade Cheese

Cheese making at its very core is basically the process of removing water from milk.  Cheese is usually made from cow’s milk, but sheep’s milk, carabao’s milk, and goat’s milk is also good for making cheese.  The amount of water removed is the first characteristic of cheese. For instance, soft cheeses like cream cheese have more water, whereas hard cheese like cheddar has less.  There are many ways to make cheese, the simplest of which is to use an acid like lemon or vinegar to curdle the cheese and remove the water. Another method involves using bacteria to create acid in the milk.  This is the method preferred by the world’s best cheese makers as the bacteria adds flavor and character to the cheese. Read on to find out how to make fresh homemade cheese

  1. Buy a carton of milk from the grocery. Store-bought milk is usually homogenized, meaning that the cream particles have been broken down into microscopic particles, keeping the cream together with the milk. The homogenizing process also alters the protein, resulting in a softer cheese.  If you’d like to make cottage cheese or harder cheese using store bought milk, you have to mix 1 part heavy cream to 7 parts skim milk.
  2. Prepare your utensils. You will need a stainless steel pot that can hold up to 10 quarts of liquid, a cover for the pot, a long-bladed carving knife that can reach the bottom of the pot, and a large spoon. Also required is a supply of hot water, stainless steel measuring cups and spoons.
  3. All milk, even store-bought ones, contain bacteria.  The first step is to pasteurize the milk and kill the bacteria.  This improves the quality of the cheese. Place the milk inside a double boiler and heat up to 161oF, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.  Once the milk has reached this temperature, place the pot into a sink filled with cold water.
  4. You will now need to acidify the milk using bacteria. This procedure is called ripening. You can buy bacteria, called starts, in order to make certain cheese types.  When you ripen the milk, the bacteria consumes the lactose or the milk sugar, much like the way wine or beer is fermented.
  5. Add an enzyme called cheese rennet to the ripe milk in order to solidify or coagulate the milk proteins into a solid curd. Make sure the rennet is diluted in water before you add it to the milk.
  6. The next step is cutting the curd mass to release the whey trapped inside the mass.
  7. Heat the cut curd in order to force the moisture out of it.
  8. Drain the whey through gravity by hanging the cheese inside a cheesecloth bag.
  9. Add specialty pure grade salt to season the cheese. This also helps preserves the cheese and aids in the drying process.
  10. Remove the whey through a mechanical cheese press.
  11. Air-dry the cheese and allow a protective rind to develop.
  12. Let the cheese age. Aging is the resting period where the flavor of the cheese develops. Seal the cheese in melted wax to protect it while it ages.


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