Making Homemade Cheese

Making homemade cheese is truly a rewarding science.

| November/December 2010

  • Artisan Cheese and Homegrown Grapes
    Aged to perfection, this homemade cheese is worth showing off to friends.
    Dan Kerr
  • Cutting Curds
    Cutting the curds allows the whey to rise.
    Dan Kerr
  • Using Dried Commercial Starter
    Dried commercial starter can be ripened to add value and to simply make more cheese.
    Dan Kerr
  • Draining Whey
    Draining the whey off the curds so the curds can settle.
    Dan Kerr
  • Forming the Rind
    Once on the drying rack, the cheese is turned every 12 hours for three days as the rind forms.
    Dan Kerr
  • Turning Cheese in the Press
    Turning the cheese in the press encourages even drying.
    Dan Kerr
  • Pressing the Cheese
    Salt and optional flavors are added before pressing.
    Dan Kerr

  • Artisan Cheese and Homegrown Grapes
  • Cutting Curds
  • Using Dried Commercial Starter
  • Draining Whey
  • Forming the Rind
  • Turning Cheese in the Press
  • Pressing the Cheese

 Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Whether it’s in grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, or just a few crumbles on your favorite soup, cheese satisfies and fills a very particular niche in our appetites. And your taste buds will tell you the best cheese is still made fresh on the farm – or in your own kitchen. Not only is making homemade cheese fun, but artisan cheeses’ flavors are highly individualized, and they are the center of attention whether served at a country-style wine and cheese party or on a sandwich at lunchtime. 

SIDEBAR:Homemade Cheddar Cheese Recipe 

Cleanliness is key 

Before you even think about that delicious block of sharp cheddar cheese, clean every tool and every surface you will use in the cheese-making process. Ensure there is no soap residue or disinfectant. I even boil stainless steel pots and utensils for 20 minutes. Although boiling isn’t essential, cleanliness is crucial when it comes to making cheese; leave no doubt your surfaces and tools are clean.  

Dr. Arthur Hill from the food science department at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, says, “Sterilization is not required. Sanitize is better. Clean as if you are handling a vulnerable product like poultry.” You can also use a microwave for plastic containers, chlorine bleach, or a dishwasher on hot cycle.   



To pasteurize or not  

Pasteurized milk makes great cheese. In my region of Canada, it’s illegal to buy, sell or serve non-
pasteurized milk or cheeses from non-pasteurized milk, unless the cheeses have been aged. 
 

Comparing the nutritional properties of pasteurized milk to raw milk is difficult. Milk is a complex product, so it’s like comparing soil; all the factors are infinitely variable. Pasteurization alters the properties and consistency of milk for cheese making; more importantly, pasteurization reduces the bacteria in milk.  






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