If you’re wondering how to make cheese, you’ll be pleased to know, it’s much easier than you think! So instead of popping to the local deli, why not give it a go?
The end result is often called farmer’s cheese or Fromage Blanc and it’s the perfect addition to pasta, crostini and salads, or simply, served up on its own.
There are just a few ingredients required to make simple cheese, and these include the following:
- One gallon of whole milk from pastured cows
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, distilled white vinegar or half a cup of butter milk
- Seasoning in the shape of salt and pepper or herbs
- Measuring jug
- Wooden spoon
- Strainer or colander
- Large bowl
How to Make Cheese at Home – The process
Step one: Add milk to a medium-large sized pan and bring to the boil.
Step two: Once bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, add acid (in the shape of buttermilk, lemon juice or distilled white vinegar) to the milk.
Step three: Take the pan off the heat and allow the milk to curdle. For best results, the curds and whey need to fully separate. This usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes.
Step four: Line a strainer or colander with a double layer of cheesecloth and strain the curds and whey. If you don’t have any cheesecloth handy, a tea towel will work just as well. Place the fabric over a large bowl and pour the mixture into the strainer.
Step five: Drain the fresh cheese. Allow the mixture to sit for a while to ensure it’s fully drained. For a firmer cheese, lift the tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Step six: Remove the cheese from the strainer and place in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper or herbs of your choice.
For best results, eat your cheese straight away. However, homemade cheese will last for up to a week when refrigerated.
Different types of cheeses you can make at home
If you want to learn how to make cheese, it’s always a good idea to begin with a basic recipe. Ricotta or dry curd is a simple and popular option – especially if you’re making homemade cheese for the first time. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can attempt the likes of goat’s cheese, queso fresco, Moroccan cheese, feta and paneer.
Moroccan cheese: This type of cheese is native to the Rif Mountain region, which is in North Morocco. It’s a great cheese to pair with homemade bread, as it’s easily spreadable. When making this cheese at home, you can use either goat’s milk or cow’s milk, teamed with buttermilk. To add flavour, throw in a few herbs or a sprinkle of salt.
Queso Fresco: This un-aged cheese boasts a creamy, moreish flavour and is traditionally made using goat or cow’s milk. It’s one of the easiest cheeses to make, and once prepared, it can either be pressed into a firmer cheese or left as it is, to create a spreadable cheese. This variant is extremely versatile – in fact, it can even be fried and served up on it’s own with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Feta cheese: To make feta cheese at home, you’ll need a thermometer, a large stainless steel pot, a cheesecloth or a piece of butter muslin, a colander and a cheese knife. The ingredients required include one gallon of whole goat’s milk, one packet of Mesophilic starter culture, water, salt, vinegar and 1½ teaspoons of calcium chloride. Once you’ve combined the ingredients and the cheese has set, you’ll need to leave it uncovered, at room temperature for one to two days before consuming. This cheese has an incredibly long lifespan when stored in brine and can last for several months.
Goat’s cheese: This is one type of cheese that you will either love or hate, as it boasts a much stronger flavour. Thankfully, when making it at home, you can add your own flavours in the shape of spices and herbs.