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Old 11-20-2005, 11:27 AM   #1
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Making your own cheese at home

Wow, two new threads in one day after being inactive for so long...

For any that are interested, I'm pursuing the idea of making your own cheese at home. I'm hoping to gather some resources together and to keep the processes simple, requiring no special equipment (that you can't make yourself) or hard-to-get ingredients.

Here is a collection of resources I have found thus far:

Fankhauser's Cheese Page - A university professor puts together a remarkably complete page on home cheesemaking.

Jack Schmidling's Cheese Making - One of my first discoveries on the web, and the page that convinced me I can actually do this. He has a recipe for a "cheese milk" made from dry milk, water, and heavy cream that looks very promising, especially since very few people have access to good raw milk.

Leeners Cheese Making Kits - I'm not too sure I'd get a kit, since it's so easy to make your own tools, but for others, this might be just the ticket.

I, personally, am most interested in making mainly fresh cheeses, such as mascarpone, mozzerella, and Neufchatel. These are easier to make than the hard, aged cheeses, and would make good stepping stones, I think.

I would definitely appreciate any input from those with cheese making experience. I plan on making my own mascarpone or mozzerella sometime this weekend (my weekend is Sunday and Monday) so I'll let you all know how it goes.

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Old 11-21-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
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Well, it looks like this little adventure is being put on hold. I think I'll gather together a plan of action and some tools before attempting my first batch. Next week, then, maybe.

I also found a really spiffy plan for a cheap cheese press for making harder cheeses, both fresh and ripened. It involves a coffee can, a drill, and some dead weight:

Take a clean, empty coffee can and make sure you save the lid you cut off before consuming said coffee. Drill holes in the bottom and in the lid. Place your curds, wrapped in cheesecloth, on the bottom, place the lid on top of that, and apply the appropriate amount of weight. Make sure the holes you drill are small and that there are plenty, but not so much that you lose strength.

I haven't tried this yet, but I will soon, as it looks pretty straightforward. I'll need a press for making Neufchatel, which is one of my plans.

Again, this is just for anyone else who may be curious. My next post won't happen until I actually accomplish something and can report on it.
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Old 11-21-2005, 02:46 PM   #3
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I can't wait to hear your report after you make it (and a report on the mead too)
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Old 11-22-2005, 06:17 PM   #4
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It is so funny that this is posted here! I have just started the process of learning how to make chees. Today I made butter, I had never done it before. Now my bread is baking in the oven and tonight I will feast on fresh homemade bread and butter Next I will attempt Yogurt and then Neufchatel. My long term plan is to have a good standing for when we buy a farm, then I can make my own cheese. I look forward to seeing how it is going for you (and me to ) Tracy
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Old 12-31-2005, 08:33 PM   #5
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Well, I finally got started in the world of home cheesemaking. I have started a batch of mascarpone cheese using a very basic recipe. I mixed together two cups of heavy whipping cream (I found one which is just pure cream, no additives) and whole milk (3.25% milkfat - the idea is to get to somewhere between 18% and 30% milkfat, with 25% being the ideal). Then, in a double boiler, brought it up to 185 degrees F (a little more or less is okay, I think - a thermometer helps a lot here). After it sat at temp for a few (to make sure the tempurature stabalized), I stirred in two tablespoons of lemon juice.

This is where you have a choice. You can either dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of tartaric acid in a quarter-cup of water and pitch that in, or use the lemon juice. Supposedly, cream of tartar is pure tartaric acid, but I was never able to find anything online that could confirm or deny that. I just used the lemon juice. It worked great.

After you pitch in the acid, hold it at the 185 degrees F for five minutes, stirring occasionally. After time is up, let it cool off. This is where I'm actually at as I write this.

After it cools, transfer the top container of the double boiler plus lid into the fridge for 12 hours. Then remove it, and drain off most of the whey, a lot of which will have separated out by now. Transfer the curds to the center of a tea towel (or some similar loose-weave kitchen towel). Tie this towel up into a tight little ball, then suspend it in the fridge over a container to catch the whey. Let it drain for about 24 hours.

Bang! You have mascarpone. At least, that's the theory. I'll have to let you know Monday morning how it turns out.
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Old 01-01-2006, 05:16 AM   #6
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I saw Michael Chiarella (sp) make fresh mozzarella in the last day or so. You may want to check foodtv to get some ideas. He made it in a flash. I think he bought the curd and the rest he made look easy. I have an old book that has some information on cheesemaking, but I've never read it - just saw it in passing. It has lots of other stuff from long ago.
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Old 01-01-2006, 10:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Consul
...snip... Then remove it, and drain off most of the whey, a lot of which will have separated out by now.
This is the part where my assumptions and reality did not meet. The curds stayed, for the most part, mixed in with the whey. What I did was to place the tea towel into a large vessel (another stainless steel pot) then pour the curds and whey on top of it. That made it easy to tie up the towel. Then I squeezed a metal skewer between the tie and the towel, and used that to suspend it in a tall pitcher I had handy. That went into the fridge.

Left over in the stainless steel pot was a good bit of the whey. Now, normally, you would save this so you can make ricotta, but I just poured it down the drain. For my first attempt, making one cheese is enough.

The curds and whey had a really pleasant creamy smell to them, so I'm looking forward to the finished product.
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Old 01-02-2006, 08:08 PM   #8
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This recipe basically made the best spreadable cream-style cheese I've ever had! I'll definitely be doing this again!
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Old 01-03-2006, 06:18 PM   #9
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Making mozzarella is very easy. Be aware though that you need to get the curds VERY hot to stretch. I have a bowl of cold water to dunk my hands in and I wear thick rubber gloves. Of the resources that are listed one is not.
http://www.cheesemaking.com/

She has a book that I have and it is a very good book:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158...books&v=glance

I really want to make other cheese, but can't seem to figure out how to get the aging cheese cool enough. I dont have another fridge and am not sure how to go around this problem......
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Old 02-06-2006, 10:13 AM   #10
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You live in Michigan. Just start making your aged cheeses in the fall.

I'm going to start making my cheese in the basement. I'll have enough room for a small fridge down there. Regrettably, though, I haven't done anything since the mascarpone exercise. I need to get back into this thing.
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