Archive for the ‘Homemade cheese’ Category

PostHeaderIcon An attempt at making Hard Cheese

On the 18th of July, I made a batch of Farmer’s Cheese and put half aside to make a hard cheese. I made a homemade press and was surprised at how well it worked. However, only time will tell if it was good enough.  I left the cheese in the press overnight, and by morning there was no more moisture left on the outside, but the inside still felt soft. I rubbed the outside with salt and wrapped the cheese in clean cloth. For the next 4 days it was in the fridge wrapped up. The next step would be to wax the cheese, but I do not want to buy cheese wax at this early stage of my cheese making. I plan to see if I can make it without the wax.  My hope is that if I leave it in the fridge for the next few weeks, it will dry out and turn into a hard cheese. My biggest concern is that the inside is not dry enough and when I open it after a few weeks the cheese will be bad inside from too much moisture. Here is a picture of my press as well as the cheese on day 5, I will be very surprised if this actually works!



PostHeaderIcon Farmers Cheese Recipe

With the basic soft cheeses under my belt (well almost), I wanted to try something a little more challenging.  Farmer’s cheese is almost like a cottage cheese, but with the whey squeezed out of it.  It then becomes a more dense cheese that can be cut or crumbled into foods.  For us this was a great substitute for goats cheese that we normally buy at Trader Joe’s.  My kids and I love goats cheese, but the price tag can be high.  By making this cheese every other week the kids still have a cheese that they can put on their crackers, I crumble it on my salads and everyone is happy.  I have not made Ravioli for some time, but think I may try to put Farmer’s cheese in it next time.

The recipe that I followed comes from a book I have mentioned before.  The Home Creamery is a favorite of mine at the moment.  My sister happened to read here that I loved the book and for my Birthday she surprised me with a copy!  Thanks, Carla!

The biggest challenge was getting a cheese press and although one can technically make this cheese without the press, I wanted to have a pretty molded cheese.  So I had to make my own press.  The one I made was very basic and could most likely not be used for harder cheeses, although I did try that as well. Here is what I did:

Farmer’s Cheese Recipe

1 gallon whole (full cream milk)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet
1/4 cup cool water (55′F-60′F)
1-2 teaspoons salt

Heat the milk and yogurt in a large pot over low heat until it reaches a temperature of 95′F.

Dissolve the rennet in the water and stir it into the milk mixture for 30 seconds.  Remove the pot from the heat, cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until solid curds form.
Cut the curds into 1 inch pieces.  Heat them along with the whey stirring gently for the first 5 minutes and then every 5 minutes until the mixture reaches a temperature of 120′F.  This can take about 30 minutes.
Line a strainer with double folded cheese cloth or with a butter muslin (smaller openings).  Let the whey drain for 1 hour or until it stops dripping.
Transfer the cheese to a bowl and add the salt, stirring well.
Line two small cheese molds or one large mold with cheese cloth (double layer) and spoon the curds into the molds.
Fold the edges of the cheese cloth over the top and place a 2 pound weight on the top for about 4 hours in the refrigerator.

This is my makeshift press.  I took a medium size bowl and put a smaller bowl on the inside you cannot see the little bowl.  The smaller bowl keeps the press out of whey.  Place a plastic container that has several small holes punched into it.  This allows the whey to run out freely.  Remember to punch holes in the bottom as well.  I then put a small plastic disk on the top of the folded cheese cloth (cut out of the lid of the plastic container) and place a weight on top.  Ideally you want about 2 pounds on the top.

Remove the cheese from the mold and store for up to 1 week.


This is the final product.  The recipe makes about 1 pound of cheese.


Here is another picture of the two presses that I have made.  I used a clean nail that I heated and punched holes into two plastic containers.  Some people use tin cans to do the same, but I have heard that the tin cans can leave a stain on the cheese (plus it’s easier to puncture plastic than tin)
So the next step in cheese making would be to make a hard cheese.  I looked online at recipes and for Gouda and Cheddar the basic ingredients seemed much the same as the Farmer’s cheese.  The biggest difference would be the hard cheese press.  I figured since I already had the Farmer’s cheese, I would keep half for the kids and me to eat and use the other half to see if I can make a hard cheese.  So here is the hard cheese press that I tried out.  In reality for hard cheese you need a press that can press up to 40 pounds.  My little homemade contraption cannot do that, but I figured I would do it anyway and see what happens.  Turns out I have a nice solid piece of cheese and right now it is maturing in the fridge wrapped in its own bandages.  I will take a picture of it in a few weeks and will either toss it due to excessive mold growth or it might surprise me and look like a hard cheese.  Hey, its worth a try right?


James Skyped me today while he was at work and told me that he no longer knows what is edible, fermenting or growing in the fridge and he now finds himself checking this site every morning to see what is safe to eat.  I suppose I would be scared as well if I saw this thing in the fridge and had no idea what it was.  Along with my fermenting Kombuthca in the pantry and my sour dough pet in the fridge, he is feeling somewhat overwhelmed by living foods.

PostHeaderIcon Still learning to make cheese

I am very new to cheese making, but I enjoy learning about it and experimenting.  The first cheese I made was the most basic recipe that you can find.  I found the recipe in a book called 365 Foods Kids Love To Eat.  It is a book of fun, nutritious recipes for kids.  The recipe makes a soft spreadable cheese and is the easiest intro to cheese making.

Basic Homemade Cheese Recipe

1 quart (1 liter) milk
1 lemon
Cheese cloth (available at most grocery stores in the US)

Heat the milk in a saucepan until just before it boils, do not let it boil or rise up.  Remove from the heat and add the juice of 1 lemon, the milk will now start to separate into curds (solids) and whey (clear liquid).
Pour the mixture through a strainer and let the whey run off.
Empty the curds into a piece of double layered cheese cloth and fold the edges up to form a tight ball.  Twist the ball and squeeze the remaining moisture out.  Hang the ball with string above a bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Salt to taste.
Spread on bread or crackers.

Once I successfully made the above recipe I was intrigued and started reading recipes for other soft cheeses.  Another recipe that is also very easy is yogurt cheese in fact this one is even easier to make.

Yogurt cheese

4 cups homemade yogurt or commercial yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
Cheese cloth
Line a strainer with a double layer of cheese cloth.  Spoon the yogurt into the cheese cloth and let it strain for about 30 min to 1 hour at room temperature.

Tie the edges together to form a firm ball and let the yogurt drain (hanging) overnight in the refrigerator.  You can leave it for a few days if you prefer, the longer the yogurt sits the firmer the cheese.
Transfer the cheese to a bowl and stir in the salt.  Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week (probably longer).

The last batch of yogurt cheese I made I divided into two portions.  The first I salted and the second I added a teaspoon of honey.  I much prefer the salted one, the kids and I ate if on crackers.  The honey went slowly since I did not know what to do with it.  We ate some of it on toast, but we much preferred the salty one.

Today I made Farmers cheese, for Farmers cheese you need a cheese press and since I could not find one locally and did not want to buy one online (still being a novice, I do not want to spend a fortune) I had to make one.  I have used it twice now and it works well.  Pictures and instruction will be up tomorrow.


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