All You Need to Make Cheese

Reader Contribution by Taylor Mardis Katz
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Before I began making cheese in my own home, I assumed cheese-making was for people with heightened level of kitchen talent, and that someone such as myself, who can make half a dozen delicious lentil dishes but has yet to successfully bake a cake, would be ill-equipped for the task. And I will admit, I have not yet reached the advanced stages of cheesemaking (I’ve yet to age a cheese, for example). However, all of my experiences with cheesemaking have been both simple and gloriously fun.

In order to make cheese, yogurt, or butter, you’ll need to gather up a handful of ingredients and instruments. It’s likely that you’ll already have all the tools you need in your home kitchen (besides for cheese cloth). However, the necessary ingredients are a little more specific, and often cannot be purchased at your local supermarket. They’re not ingredients that you’ll find yourself using on other recipes, either. Fortunately, most of the required ingredients are relatively inexpensive, although the cultures vary widely in price. That being said, homemade dairy products are absolutely worth the time and investment. The fresh flavor of homemade dairy products is truly unparalleled!

Read on to learn about ingredients you’ll need for most cheese recipes, as well as which culture you’ll need for each type of cheese. All of these items are available for sale on the Bob-White Systems website, and may also be available locally. For a delightfully simple introduction to cheese-making, I recommend the Cheesemaking Kits from Bob-White Systems, which include everything you’ll need to get started. May your first forays into cheesemaking be a success!

Common Cheese Ingredients


Rennet (vegetarian or veal, your choice)

Cheese salt (salt without iodine, also known as non-iodized salt)

Calcium chloride (CaCl2, which works to restore the calcium balance in milk; helps the milk coagulate and produce stable curds – you will want to use this if you’re working with store-bought milk, which is usually pasteurized and homogenized)

Citric acid (can substitute lemon juice or vinegar)

Common Cheese Equipment

Large stainless steel pot

Stainless cheese skimmer or stainless slotted spoon

Thermometer (ideally one that clips to your pot)

Measuring spoons

Fine cheese cloth

Cheese mold (depending on what type of cheese you’re making)

Common Cultures

Chevre: MM100 or Chevre packet or Flora Danica

Monterey Jack: MA11

Feta: CHOOZIT Feta or MA4001 or MA4002

Cheddar: RA21 or Kazu or MA11

Cultured butter (and buttermilk and crème fraiche): Flora Danica

Kefir: Kefir starter culture or kefir grains

Yogurt: ABY2C or ABY611 or DCI611 or “Y5 Sweet” yogurt packet

Cream Cheese: Aroma B or Flora Danica

Mozzarella: Citric acid

Gouda: Kazu

Ricotta: Citric acid

Tomme: MA4001 or MA4002

Blue cheese: CHOOZIT Penicillium Roqueforti

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