An Introduction to Simple Home Cheese-making and Local Artisan Cheeses

Added by Caroline on 25 March 2011

Before we begin, a quick word on health and safety:
Cheese-making involves working with hot liquids. Ensure you use oven gloves to move any hot containers and do not handle muslins until they are cool enough to avoid scalding.
The success of these techniques and their safety relies on all equipment being scrupulously clean. Before you begin make sure all equipment is sterilised. A full cycle in a dishwasher should achieve this. Alternatively, rinsing items in boiling water or placing them in a pan of water which is then brought to the boil will achieve this. Take care that everything is cool enough before you retrieve it from the pan.

4 litres of full fat, pasteurised cows milk
2 tsps of citric acid dissolved in 180ml of warm water or 8 tbsps of lemon juice

Heat the milk to 98 degrees Celsius (this should be a rolling boil). Stir often to ensure the milk doesnt scorch or catch.
When this temperature is reached, reduce the heat to low and add the acid before the froth on top of the milk subsides. Continue to cook for 10 15 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir gently until large curds have formed.
Set aside and let the curds set for 10 minutes.
When the curds have settled below the whey, ladle the contents of the pan into a colander lined with butter muslin.
Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hold under lukewarm running water for 10 seconds to remove the coagulant. Rather than discarded the bowl of whey you can keep it to make ricotta or add it to bread recipes if used within 3 hours.
Squeeze out any extra whey.
Wrap the cheese tightly in the butter muslin. Shape it in an empty rectangular box if you wish and then place under a weight of approximately 5lbs for a minimum of 2 hours.
To further improve the texture of the cheese, place it in cold water in the fridge for 2 3 hours.
Drain and eat right away or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Fresh whey, no more than 3 hours old (the whey leftover from making paneer is ideal and should be about 3 litres in quantity)
A further litre of full-fat, pasteurised cows milk
2 ½ tbsps of cider vinegar

Pour the whey and milk into a pan and bring to 98 degrees Celsius over a direct heat.
Keep stirring all the while, to prevent scalding, then remove from the heat. Continuing to stir, add the vinegar. You will notice white particles of protein beginning to form on the surface, though this may have begun to occur during heating.
Ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin and allow to drain. When the muslin is cool enough to handle without scalding yourself, tie the corners of the cloth into a knot and hang over a sink or bowl to drain for several hours.
When no more liquid is draining from the bag untie the cloth and place the cheese in a container with a tight fitting lid. This can now be refrigerated and kept in this way for up to a week.
The cheese can be adapted to your own personal taste by adding herbs, spices, a little cream and/or salt.

Home-made Yoghurt (the simple way!)
1 litre of full-fat, unpasteurized cows milk
3 tbsps of live natural yoghurt (unflavoured and without sweeteners)

Place the yoghurt in a bowl and bring to room temperature as rapidly as possible. Fill a vacuum flask of just over a litre in capacity with boiling water.
Heat the milk in a pan to 98 degrees Celsius (just beginning to reach the boil, but do not scald as this will impair the flavour).
Take the milk off the heat and cool to 43 degrees Celsius (this is the ideal temperature for the culture in the yoghurt to begin to work on the milk).
Add a little milk to the yoghurt and mix until smooth before reintroducing to the remainder of the milk.
Stir the pan until everything is well combined, but without beating or whisking. To ensure an even consistency it is important that the yoghurt is evenly distributed throughout the milk.
Drain the water from the flask and funnel the milk mixture into the flask.
Seal the flask, wrap in a towel and keep in a warm place.
After 6 8 hours check the consistency of the yoghurt and if acceptable place in a sealed container in the fridge.
If you would like the yoghurt to be of a slightly thicker consistency it can be strained through butter muslin.

Yoghurt Cheese
1 litre of yoghurt (fresh, homemade yoghurt is idea, but natural bought yoghurt also works)
Salt and herbs of your choice (optional)

Ensure that the yoghurt is at room temperature (the quicker you can do this the better to avoid spoilage or contamination).
Line a colander with butter muslin and pour the yoghurt into this. Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain for around 12 hours or until the yoghurt has become a soft cheese of the consistency you desire.
Remove from the bag and season as you wish.
The cheese is now ready to store in a closed container in the fridge for up to a fortnight.


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