How to Make Your Own Cheese

Man making cheeseThere are several different types of cheese that you can make yourself. These include Ricotta, Cottage cheese, Mascarpone, Mozzarella and Yogurt cheese, to name a few. Making your own cheese can be tricky, and takes some time to fully learn, but once you have mastered it, you will (almost) never have to purchase cheese from your grocery store again, which makes you that much more self sufficient. In fact, if you have your own goats or even cows, this gives you another use for their milk. If not, the milk or heavy cream, depending on your recipe, from a grocery store will work, as long as it is not ultra-pasteurized.

Cottage cheese is one of the easiest to make, so cheese-making beginners should start off with it. All that you need is full cream milk (again, one that has not been ultra-pasteurized), citric acid in the form of lemon or lime juice, warm water, a muslin cloth, a glass cup, a cooking pan and a spoon to stir the mixture with.

Start off by combining one half of a teaspoon of the citric acid of your choice with one half of a cup of water in a glass. Stir well until the citric acid has been fully dissolved, then set it aside for now. Pour 33 ounces of milk into the pan and place it on the stove. Turn the burner on high, and wait for the milk to boil.

Once it does, pour the citric acid and water combination into the milk, and then stir. Turn the heat down, and keep stirring until the milk is fully curdled (i.e. begins to solidify and separate into two distinct parts – liquid and solid.) Turn the burner off and remove the pan from it. Place the muslin cloth over the top of the pan and drain it. The chunky bits of cheese will be caught by the cloth, while the liquid (also called the “whey”) will run out of the pan.

After the whey has been poured out, pour water over the cheese (still attached to the muslin) for several minutes to rinse it. Squeeze the cheese gently to make sure that all of the liquids have been removed. Slice your new cottage cheese into pieces, or use it however you want.

Once you have mastered cottage cheese, then it is time to attempt several types of cheese that are slightly more complicated. Ricotta and Mozzarella all require a few more kitchen tools and additional steps to make, while the process for making Mascarpone is almost as simple as that for cottage cheese.

The main difference lies in not only the equipment, for example, in order to make Ricotta cheese, you also need a colander, a thermometer and several other things, but also the type of milk or cream that is used. Mascarpone requires heavy cream, while Mozzarella can be made out of standard milk (again, as long as it is not ultra-pasteurized.)

With a little practice, as well as the right ingredients, you will have mastered these cheeses and others, making yourself that much more self-sufficient.

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Pic by Pot Noodle.

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3 Responses to How to Make Your Own Cheese

  1. Maureen Larter October 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Hi Mario – Love making my own cheese. At the moment I am not milking my cow – she needed a rest!, but when I was I made all my own yoghurt, ice-cream, butter as well as cheese – this included Feta and Haloumi as well. It’s great! And boy – do I miss it all at the moment.

    • Mario Leal October 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      That is so great, Maureen! I love the idea of doing as much for myself as I can. Thank you so much for the comment!


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