This is something I am really thinking about trying. I understand mozzarella and ricotta are among the easiest.
I don't really have space I can set aside to age cheese in, so I'll have to stick to very basic stuff.
So if anyone has tips/advice on homemade cheese-making, I'd love to hear!
I make my own mozerella. Its a simple recipe and hard to mess up. Though I did learn the hard way to make sure it was in at least 2 freezer bags before storage because it is stored because it picks up every smell/flavor it can. Just be aware though that homemade cheese has a much different more distinctive taste than store bought....it actually has a taste!
Here are a couple of recipes. I haven't used them myself though.
Homemade Cheddar Cheese Recipe
2 gallons whole, non-homogenized, filtered, pasteurized cow’s milk (I use Natrel Organic)
1⁄2 teaspoon mesophilic starter, or 4 tablespoons fresh starter
1 teaspoon liquid, or 1⁄4 tablet rennet crushed and diluted in water
1⁄2 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in water
2 tablespoons non-iodized salt
Optional flavoring (garlic, dried tomato and basil, or anything you wish!)
In double boiler, heat milk to 85°F. Stir in starter. Remove pot from heat, cover and allow to sit for 1 hour.
Heat mixture to 85°; add rennet and mix gently. Add calcium chloride and mix gently. Let sit for 1 hour at 85°.
Test curds by cutting with a knife; be sure there’s a clean break. Using double boiler, increase mixture temperature to 100° over 30 to 40 minutes. Gently turn curds occasionally with slotted spoon for another 30 minutes.
Line colander with cheese cloth and drain curds for 15 to 20 minutes. (Collect the whey, if you want, for use in bread or muffin baking.)
Cut curds into slices. Pour curds back in double boiler. Let sit for 2 hours with water in double boiler at 100°.
Add salt and any flavoring, if desired. Mix gently.
Line press with cheese cloth.
Pour curds into press, cover and apply pressure.
Drain whey as necessary and turn every 15 minutes for 1 hour. Then turn every 12 hours for 36 hours.
Place on drying rack and turn every 12 hours for 3 days. (A rind should form.) Brush wax on cheese. Allow to dry. Brush with second coat of wax. Allow to age in cool room (50 degrees) for up to 45 days, if you can wait.
COTTAGE CHEESE (so named because it could easily be made at home or cottage) 1 gallon fresh milk (raw or pasteurized) 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet 1/4 cup cool water 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
In large pot or kettle, heat milk over low heat until it reaches 86°F (pretty near room temperature, so start slow). Mix rennet and water. Stir in buttermilk and rennet mixture; remove from heat.
Cover pot with cheesecloth to keep dust out and allow air flow through.
Leave to sit in warm location until milk has clabbered – 16 to 24 hours if you have used pasteurized milk and buttermilk or yogurt as your activator; it will take less time if you have used rennet. Do not jiggle the pan during this process as it may break the curds.
As soon as the curd (solid) has separated from the whey (liquid), use a long stainless steel knife to “cut” the curd into 1- to 2-inch cubes. This will allow more whey to separate out.
Heat curds and whey slowly in double boiler until they reach 115°F; hold at this temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally but gently. Pour into cheesecloth-lined colander set into bowl and allow whey to drip out.
After 20 minutes, lift 4 corners of cheesecloth and tie them up. Hang bagged curds over bowl for 4 to 5 hours until finished dripping. If you like, you may then rinse curds again with cool water to leach out any acid flavor. Drain again and, if desired, add cream and non-iodized salt to taste.
CREAM CHEESE (requires no cooking) 1 gallon milk or cream 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk 1/2 rennet tablet dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
Add buttermilk and rennet mixture to milk. Mix well, stirring approximately 10 minutes or until milk begins to clabber. Cover and keep at 70-80°F until whey separates from curd (up to 15 hours). Do not jiggle during this process.
Line colander with several layers of wet cheesecloth and set in bowl. Slice clabbered milk into 1-inch cubes; pour into colander. Let drip for several minutes.
Lift cheesecloth by 4 corners and tie together to form bag. Hang over bowl to drip until solid but gelatinous mass remains (8-10 hours or overnight). If the weather is warm, put the bag in a colander set into a bowl and place in the refrigerator. Squeeze bag occasionally. If necessary, change cheesecloth when it gets plugged.
As soon as cheese is desired consistency, pour from cheesecloth into bowl. Salt to taste (if desired), starting with 1/4 teaspoon. Some prefer no salt, though adding it will increase the cheese’s storage time. Pack into small bowls or wrap in greased paper and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
In double boiler, heat milk over low heat to 90°F. Add mesophilic (moderate temperature) starter (and lipase, a fat-cleaving enzyme, if you’d like a stronger flavor); stir well. Mix rennet with water. Add rennet mixture to milk and stir briskly for 1 minute. Let milk set (keeping at constant 90°F) 30-45 minutes, or until curd gives clean break.
Cut curd into 1/4-inch cubes. Heat curds gradually to 95°F over 20 minutes, stirring gently every few minutes to keep curds from sticking together. Let curds set, without stirring, for 5 minutes.
Drain off whey (and save it for other uses). Add salt and keep curds at 95°F for 30 more minutes (stirring if necessary to keep curds from sticking together).
Line cheese mold with cheesecloth and add curds. Press cheese with weight of 35 pounds for 6 hours. Remove cheese from mold and place in covered container in refrigerator.
Skim milk or partly skimmed milk, raw or pasturised
Allow milk to stand until slightly sour, then gently simmer until curds separate from the whey. Stir, strain and allow to drop until cool. Refrigerate, should last several days.
Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!
I found a good way to store cheese to mature was by sinking a barrel into the earth in the garden. Put the cheese into the barrel and cover. It does not get the great temperature fluctuations that some above ground storage allows. It also keeps the smell of maturing cheese out of the house.
I have not tried any hard/aged cheeses. YET!. I have done fresh cheese (like ricotta) and it came out well. Didn't try mozzerella yet. I have a recipe and the ingredients though. Maybe over Xmas vacation I will try that one.
Thanks for the recipes, arnika! It doesn't sound difficult at all once you have the equipment and plenty of patience.
A cream cheese recipe. . .that could be really dangerous - I love the stuff!
You don't need patience or equipment for ricotta, which is super easy to make. I have started making it several times a month from milk that's about 48 hours away from going bad. If you google "make ricotta cheese" or "make paneer" you'll get the instructions, but here's the quick and dirty version:
1. Pour milk into pot. Bring up to temperature just below boil but do not let it boil. I put the pot on medium, stick a probe thermometer in the mix, and set the probe thermometer's alarm for 175 degrees (so that by the time I get in there and turn off the alarm and get my act together, temp is where it belongs at approx. 178 degrees). Sometimes when I'm feeling really lazy, I skip this step and instead put the milk in my crock pot for 2.5 hours on Low. Same effect either way.
2. When it reaches the magic temperature, add lemon juice or vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time until the curds separate from the whey. For a half gallon of milk, I usually add 3 to 4 tablespoons before it separates.
3. Let cool to the point that you feel comfortable touching it with your bare hands. I don't mind touching hot stuff so I wait about 45 minutes. If you are delicate-handed, wait 90 minutes or two hours.
4. Get out a strainer and/or a colander + cheesecloth. Or if you're a cheapskate like me, you can also use an old (clean) t-shirt or pillowcase, or super-cheap unbleached muslin from the fabric store. Basically any thin cloth that will allow liquid through. Lay your cheesecloth in the strainer in the sink. Carefully pour curds and whey. If your cheesecloth is very fine, you may have to pour half your batch at let it drain before you can add the rest.
5. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth. Twist the bundle of cheese to squeeze out more water (this is why you wanted the curds and whey to cool down before you proceeded--otherwise you'll have hot, wet whey all over your hands!)
6. The cheese is now useable but will be very loose, similar to cottage cheese. If you want it more solid, you can either put something heavy on top of your cheese (hint: try the pot you just cooked it in) and let it drain for awhile. Some people hang their cheesecloth bundle to their faucet and come back in a few hours.