Making Homemade Cheese

Making homemade cheese is truly a rewarding science.

| November/December 2010

 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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