Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Meeting 5d: Basic Cheese Making

Cheese Making For Beginners:
 Taught by Katy Clayton.  

There is several ways to classify Cheese.  The age of the cheese, the type of animal milk used, and the hardness of the cheese are all ways of classifying cheese.
Age: The age of the cheese will depend on how much time is given from production to consumption. Some examples are:
Fresh- Cottage, Ricotta and farmer cheeses
Quick Aged: Farmhouse Cheddar
Aged: Sharp Cheddar, Bleu and Parmesan
Type of Animal Milk: There is several type of milks used; cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo milk.
Hardness of the cheese: The hardness of the cheese will depend of the moisture content of the cheese. Some examples are:
Very Soft: Mascarpone and Neufechatel
Soft: Brie and Feta
Semisoft: Baby Swiss and Butterkase
Semihard: Gouda
Hard: Parmesan and Romano

As you are preparing to begin making cheese you will need to decide what kind of milk you will use.  That can depend on what you have available and cost. Cow’s milk is the most readily available.  There’s pasteurized or raw cow’s milk.  Pasteurized milk is the cheapest and more readily available to us.  When using pasteurized milk you will need to compensate for the breakdown of the proteins that happen during the pasteurizing process.
After you’ve decided what type of milk you are using you will need to decide whether to use skim or whole milk.  Skim milk is better when making hard cheeses. When using it in softer cheese recipes, you will have a lower fat cheese but it will produce less cheese.  Whole milk has more fat content and will produce a higher yield.  In addition your cheese will be creamer and richer in flavor.

Cheese-making Supplies:
Acidifier: This will help to convert the milk sugar to lactic acid and “ripen” the milk.  This is usually done, using a special bacterial starter culture.  The two that are most common are mesophilic culture and thermophilic culture.  You can buy these online through Amazon; there is also a local carrier here in FV who sells almost all of the cheese supplies you will need.
Rennet: Rennet is an enzyme found in the 4th stomach of a newborn calf or kid that separates the milk into curds and whey. There is also vegetable rennet that can be used.
Lipase: Lipase is also an enzyme; it releases fatty acids that create aroma and tastes for certain cheeses.  Lipase is destroyed when milk is pasteurized.
Citric Acid: Citric Acid is used for fashioning mozzarella cheese.  It will help with making the curds stretchy.
Calcium Chloride: Calcium Chloride helps pasteurized milk to develop a firmer curd setting, making it easier to cut the curds.
Salt: Coarse, non-iodized cheese salt draws moisture from the curd, quickens the aging and gives flavor to your cheese. Iodized salt will slow the aging of the cheese.
Flavorings: If making orange, yellowish cheese you will need a flavoring and coloring called Annatto. Annatto is a dye derived from a tree and is used to give cheeses and butter its rich coloring.
Other Supplies: You will also need a large stainless steel, enameled or glass pot; a slotted spoon, measuring cups, non-chlorinated water, a colander, butter muslin or cheesecloth, a digital thermometer, a cheese press and possibly cheese wax.
When beginning cheese making, two of the easiest cheese to make at home are, Farm House Cheddar and Mozzarella.

Ricki’s 30-Minute Mozzarella

From Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
The following recipe is a quick and easy way to make fresh Mozzarella at home in less than 30 minutes. Make sure the milk you use for this cheese is NOT ultrapasteurized, otherwise you will end up with Ricotta instead of Mozzarella.


2 level teaspoons citric acid
1 gallon pasteurized whole milk (see Note in Step 1 below)
 ¼ teaspoon lipase powder (see Note in Step 1 below), dissolved in ¼ cup cool water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes, for a stronger flavor (optional)
¼ teaspoon liquid rennet (or ¼ rennet tablet) diluted in ¼ cup cool, unchlorinated water
1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)

  • Add the citric acid to the milk and stir thoroughly. (If using lipase, add it now) Note: You may use skim milk, but the yield will be lower and the cheese will be drier. If you add lipase to this cheese, you may have to use a bit more rennet, as lipase makes the cheese softer. Try the recipe without it and experiment later.
  • Heat the milk to 88 degrees F. (The milk will start to curdle) 
  • Gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion, and continue heating until the temperature reaches 105 degrees F. Turn off the heat and let the curd set until you get a clean break when you insert the thermometer at a 45 degree angle. This will take only a few minutes.
  • The curd should look like thick yogurt. If the whey is still milky, wait a few more minutes.
  • Scoop out the curds with a spoon and put them into a two-quart microwave-safe bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey.
  • Microwave the curds on high for one minute. More whey will precipitate from the curd. Again, drain off all excess whey. Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands, forming it into a ball until it is cool enough to touch. (Wear rubber gloves; the cheese has to be almost too hot to touch before it will stretch.)
  • Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each. After each heating, work the cheese into a ball until it is cool enough to touch. Drain all excess whey each time.
  • Knead quickly like bread dough until it is smooth. Sprinkle on the salt, if desired, while you are kneading and stretching. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it is done. If it breaks, the curds will need to be reheated.
  • When the cheese is smooth and shiny, it is ready to eat. Although this mozzarella is best eaten right away, if you must wait, cover it and store in the refrigerator.
  • Yield: ¾ to one pound
Tip: For a firmer cheese, use more rennet. If your cheese is too hard, use less rennet. If the curds turn into the consistency of ricotta cheese and will not come together, change the brand of milk; it may have been heat-treated at the factory to too high a temperature. Most of all, be patient. When you get this to work, you will never stop eating it.

Farmhouse Cheddar:
This recipe was adapted from the Reformation Acres Blog.

2 gallons of milk
½ tsp calcium chloride, dissolved in ½ cup of water
50+ drops of Annatto, dissolved in ¼ cup water (optional, only if you want the orange, yellow coloring for you cheese)
4oz. mesophilic culture (or direct set packet, freezer dried)
½ -1 tsp liquid rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup of water
1 TBS salt

·Add the milk to the large pot. 
·         Thoroughly dissolve the calcium chloride (DO NOT use chlorinated water)
·         Heat the milk to 90 degrees, stirring.
·         Add the Annatto if doing so, and add the mesophilic culture and stir until melted.  Cover the pot and allow sitting and ripening for 45 min.
·         Add dissolved rennet through the slotted spoon to try and distribute evenly.  Stir gently for one minute in a gentle up & down motion. Cover the pot and all to sit forming curds for 30 min.
·         Test for a clean break by using a knife.  It should lift clean and smooth and the void should fill with whey. If clean, cut the curds into ½ inch cubes. Allow to sit and heal for 5 min.
·         Indirectly heat the curds to 100 degrees F, in your sink, aiming for a rate of 2 degrees every 5 min. You will want the hot water that you fill your sink with to reach between 100-110 degrees F; stir frequently. The curds will shrink up a bit and the yellow whey will increase. This is the most labor intensive part of the process and will take about 45 min.  You may have to drain and refill the sink several times.
·         Hold at 100 degrees F for 5 min.
·         Strain the curds through a cheesecloth and colander.
·         Tie up the cheesecloth and let hang over a bowl for 1 hour.
·         Take down the cheesecloth and break the curds apart with your fingers.  Add the 1 TBS salt.
·         Line your cylinder with the cheesecloth on your press.  Add the curds and let press for 15 min at 4-5 pounds of pressure.
·         Take the curds out of the press, and turn it upside down in the press (still with the cheesecloth.  You will press at 10-12 pounds for 12 hours.
·         Remove from the press and unwrap.  Air dry for 1-2 days, turning at least twice a day.
·         Yield:  about 2 lbs.
Tip: Unwaxed, this cheese will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator or grate and freeze. To age the cheddar, seal in wax for up to three months and store at a temperature of 45-60 degrees F.

Waxing and Aging:
When waxing you will need to find food grade wax, which is yellow, red or black.  You will need to melt the wax on a double boiler until it melts completely and reaches a temperature of 225-240F.  The cheese should be dipped for at least 6 seconds.  If brushing the wax on, be sure to not use a synthetic brush (its bristles will melt in the wax.)  Note: All wax is highly flammable.  Be sure to keep a close eye on it!  Never leave it unattended while heating.  Do not use a microwave to heat wax.)
When aging your cheese you can use your existing refrigerator, but it is 10-15F cooler than ideal and has a tendency to suck moisture out of anything that is not protected. 
To protect the cheese, place it in the warmest part of the refrigerator.  Use an airtight container to keep it from drying out. You can control the humidity in the container by using a wet paper towel crumpled in one corner.
The ideal temperature to age cheese at would be 52-55F.  You can modify an old fridge or use a wine fridge.

Local Cheese Making Supplier:
Homesteader’s Brew Supply
121 Raleigh St., Fuquay Varina

Open from 10am-7pm

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