Making Cheese

I started in on a batch of cheese today. So far it looks like things are turning out well! The curd set really well, better than I normally get, so I’m using this to record what I did.  If you want full instructions on cheesemaking, I recommend Dr. Fankhauser’s cheese page.  It’s where I learned everything I know, more or less.

  1. I brought home my milk from Windsor Dairy and set 1 gallon out on the counter for the night, still in the jars it came in.  This is raw milk, so it starts souring and turning into buttermilk as it reaches room temperature.  I didn’t have a buttermilk starter at the time, so leaving it overnight was my best bet.
  2. Late in the morning (I slept in) I boiled some water, measured about 1/4 cup, and set it in the freezer. This is mostly to dechlorinate the water, but maybe sterilizing the water helps too.
  3. I slowly warmed the milk to just shy of 38°.
  4. I took out the water, dissolved ~28 drops of annatto coloring in the water, and dissolved a rennet tablet in the same water.
  5. The water went in the warm milk, I stirred everything together briefly, then turned off the burner and put the top on my pot. I have an electric stove with a glass top, so the hot top kept the milk warm for a while while everything incubated.
  6. 5 or 6 hours later, I checked the curd. A pic of me doing it is below. The photo isn’t the greatest, but the curd set really well! That’s a good sign in my experience.
  7. Checking the curd
  8. I then warmed it up to 35° to set the curds. I may have taken too long to do this or stirred too little, because the curds clumped together quite a bit. Still, they sank nicely and got to the right consistency, which is has not always happened every time I made cheese. Yay!
  9. Next came draining off the whey and loading the curds into the press. I boiled the cheesecloth for a minute or so to sterilize it, since I hadn’t used it in a while. I’m not sure if this made me wait too long and got my curds too cool. I think it’ll be all right though, we’ll see.
Loading the cheese press
Curds in the press
Press assembled

Yeah, my cheese press is pretty scrappy. Those are actually two 2.5 lb weights from an adjustable dumbbell set wrapped in plastic wrap on top of the press. It’s not exactly standard, but it does the job!

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One thought on “Making Cheese

  1. ihtreuer says:

    Well done, I press some of my cheese the same way. Jealous that you can get raw milk.

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