Fresh milk and rennet is all you need to make a white, soft and delicious cheese at home. You probably never thought is that easy, right? And trust me – once you make your first homemade cheese you will never go back to buying cheese in a tub from your local supermarket.
Cheese is one of the most popular fermented milk products. Commonly cheese is classified as soft and hard. There are hundreds of different cheeses around the world developed by artisans over time. Now it’s time to make your own magic craft.
Why make cheese at home?
It’s easy, it’s healthy and it’s delicious. Cheese can be made using cow, goat, sheep and donkey milk with cow milk being the most common milk used for making cheese.
The main ingredient for making cheese is milk. The first step of making cheese is curdling the milk. The milk can be curdled with acids such as lemon juice or vinegar or with an enzyme such as rennet.
Rennet can be animal or plant based and it helps milk coagulate. The amount of rennet you will need to use depends on what type of cheese you’re making. For soft cheese you will use less rennet than for hard cheese.
You don’t need special equipment to make cheese at home. You will need a large pot, thermometer, cheesecloth, knife and a colander. I recommend using stainless steel pot or any other pot made of non-reactive material. Avoid using copper, aluminum or non-enameled cast iron pots.
Making cheese at home requires around one hour of your time and an additional 4-5 hours for whey to drain out.
I’m sharing my mum’s cheese making recipe which is easy, simple and delicious. It’s a soft white cheese made of cow’s milk. It’s most similar to queso blanco with difference being using rennet instead of cider vinegar.
I grew up with calling this cheese ‘young cheese’ as mum used to make two types of cheese – ‘young cheese’ which can be eaten as soon as whey is drained out and ‘aged cheese’ which is kept for over a month before it can be consumed.
The ‘young cheese’ can be served with fried eggs and bacon, added to various salads, and on a toast with avocado and other veggies. I also love making different pastries with this cheese with my favorite being spinach and ricotta pastry.
Make unaged white cheese using milk and rennet. The cheese is soft and delicious.
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 2 tablespoon of rennet
- Heat the milk: Pour the milk into a large pot over low-medium heat. Let the milk slowly heat until it reaches 100°F.
- Stir in the rennet: Stir in the rennet slowly into the milk. The curds start to separate from the whey.]
- Low down the heat: Lower down the heat and let the pot sit on the stove for another 10 minutes. During this time, the curds and whey will separate more which will cause a giant blob to form. Cut the blob into smaller cubes or chunks.
[Sidebar: The size of curds will affect the amount of moisture retained in your final cheese. The smaller the pieces, the drier cheese will be. I prefer soft cheese hence I cut the blob into larger chunks.] Use a cheeseharp or a knife.
- Transfer mixture into colander: Line a colander with a cheesecloth. Using ladle start transferring curds and whey into the colander. Tie up the end of the cheesecloth making a tight bundle. Cover it with a weight like a small plate with container of water on the top.
- Drain the cheese: Leave the cheese to drain for 4-5 hours on the room temperature.
- Serve the cheese: Unwrap the cheesecloth and take the cheese out. Put the cheese on the chopping board then cut into smaller pieces. Sprinkle with salt then serve it.
- Storage: Place the cheese into container and keep it in refrigerator for up to a week.
Equipment: large stainless steel pot, thermometer, cheesecloth, knife or cheeseharp, chopping board and a colander.
- Serving Size: 100 grams
- Calories: 310 grams
- Fat: 14 grams
- Trans Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2.5 grams
- Protein: 20 grams
- Cholesterol: 70mg