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who are the home cheesemakers?

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

There have been a few threads related to cheesemaking scattered around the Recipe and genreal forums. I thought I'd start a new one and ask how many DGers are making cheese at home?

How often do you make cheese?
Do you make soft cheeses, hard cheeses or both? What are your favourite types?
Do you sell your cheeses or make for your own consumption only?

Do you have your own milk supply, eg, your own dairy animals or a local farm that can supply or do you use store bought milk?

What have been the rewards, aggravations, giggles and mishaps?

Did Santa bring anyone a cheesmaking kit and if so, how did you like it?

At the moment, I make yoghurt cheese and panir at home. We also make a type of "cottage" cheese if we don't useup all the fresh milk and it sours. The soured milk is boiled until the curds firm up, then we strain them out, press the water out, and scramble the curds to make a bhorji (scrambled curd dish with ghee, onion, tumeric, chopped green chili, tomato, roasted cumin and cilantro)

At various times in my life, I assisted grandparents and aunts in other cheese making efforts but haven't done anything more adventurous than quark recently.

I'll bet DG has a lot of "cheesy" talent! :) It would be interesting to hear about your experiences.

Tolleson, AZ(Zone 9a)

I am sorry to see that no one has posted here. I have always wanted to learn about cheese making. I have no clue where to get started!!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

home cheese making illustrated... http://www.leeners.com/cheesehow2.html

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the thread, G_M. I plan to join the ranks soon! I'll start with yogurt and cottage cheese, and then move on to soft cheeses like brie. Before going farther than that, I need to see if I have a suitable place with the right temps and humidity for hard cheese to age.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

Darius, does temperature matter in making cheese? i ask cuz sometime back, a show on PBS showed a cheese maker in Europe making their cheese inside a cold cave. now i wish i knew all the details.

another link http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese_course/Cheese_course.htm

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Ma Vie, I'm thinking it sure must make a difference... same with humidity. But, I've been wrong lots of times!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

Darius, i am not saying there is right or wrong way in cheese making. personally, i have not ventured into the practice of cheese making. i just wish i remember why in Europe, some cheese producers prefer to make their cheese in cold caves. i wonder why, and what the rationality would be?

here is another link i found http://www.cheesemaking.com/includes/modules/jWallace/OnLineNews/NewsFiles/MilkAbout.html , http://www.glue.umd.edu/~nsw/ench485/lab1.htm

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

MaVieRose, thank you for the link to leeners!
Silly me, I wanted to add some links here and forgot.
Have you made any of the cheeses on the Leeners site? What was your experience with the directions and recipes?

Fankhauser's Cheese Page is an interesting read too.

Here are some sites on cheese cave design/home cheese caves for aging hard cheeses:
Setting up your own cheese cave part1 - article by Jim Wallace

Setting up your own cheese cave part2 - article by Jim Wallace

For the truly ambitious folks with lot's of room and a handy culvert, this cellar could be adapted to a cheese cellar.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Looks like we were posting simulataneously!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

here are a few more interesting links http://www.american.com/archive/2007/november-december-magazine-contents/the-big-cheese, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02EFDE133FF932A15751C1A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all , http://www.kci-com.com/lp/rr/cheese/cheeseclub.asp

above links are nice reading for cheese afficionados or for those who has aspirations to make cheese. good luck and Happy New Year to All!

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Cool thread!! I've just recently (in the last year) been making my own yogurt. I'd love to make my own cheeses.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

MaVieRose, the articles about the affineurs were very interesting. I especially liked the way one of them would share credit with the farm that actully made the cheese, rather than only brand it for the afficeur who finished it.

NetFlix has the documentary on Sister Noella, the Cheese Nun, so I've added that to the top of my queue.

Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

I'm glad I found this thread! I've been reading the boo Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which has some info about making your own cheese. I've been thinking about trying to make my own, but haven't had time yet.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Well, I am just now making my first batch of yogurt, 2 quarts. I used plain Greek yogurt for the starter. I found it hard to keep tabs on the temp. when heating the milk AND keep the pot covered to avoid natural yeasts in the air.

Jas, I read Kingsolver's book with great interest! She lives just a few miles from me.

Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

Darius, I read that somewhere about the time I started reading it. It really is a great book and anyone who wants to read from the library should probably get their name on the list now. It's booked pretty far in advance in our library system. I bought my copy through amazon.com.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I need to own a copy... I read the one from the library. I did download some of her recipes from her website.

Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

I really glad I have a copy of my own...it has great info I plan to re-read.

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Darius...I can't remember, but do you have an excalibur dehydrator? If you do, you can make your yogurt in there. I do it all the time.

Michelle in Michigan

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Yep, and it's in there at 125F. NOT coagulating, though... guess I did something wrong and wasted 1/2 gallon of milk.

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

How long has it been in there?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

4-5 hours, and my recipe says 3.

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Would you mind posting your recipe? I'll dig mine up and see how they compare. Mine, I'm almost positive said 4 hours.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sure... It is this link. http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/yogurt_making/yogurt98.htm

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

The only thing I did differently was to use plain Greek yogurt, not Dannon as he suggested.

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)


This is so basic it is almost boring to read the steps!! I didn't use a double boiler...I put mine in quart mason jars covered with plastic wrap in my excalibur. All I used was organic skim milk and organic, plain yogurt. It wasn't as thick as storebought yogurt, so I put it in a muslin lined colander and let some of the whey drain out. That thickened it considerably without adding anything. My kids liked it sweeter, so I added honey and fruit later on.


San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

darius, when you say Greek yoghurt, is that a particular brand or are you refering to Greek style yoghurt? The Greek style yoghurt is thicker because it has been drained (think yoghurt cheese).

"Bring 1 litre (2-1/4 pints) of whole full-fat milk to just under boiling point and then pour the milk into a glass or earthenware dish. Let the milk cool to about 42C/104F. Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of commercial plain yogurt or from a previous home-made yohurt (at room temperature) with a few tablespoons of milk, and pour into the milk carefully without disturbing the skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk. Cover with a cloth, place in a warm, draft-free place for 8 to 12 hours or overnight, and do not disturb it until the yogurt thickens. Drain any excess liquid and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

To make a "thick" yoghurt, remove the skin on the surface of the yoghurt just made and pour the yoghurt into a muslin bag. Hang the bag over a bowl and let drain for about 2 hours or until the desired thickness is obtained. "

When I'm making my own yoghurt at home, I mix a Tablespoon of plain yoghurt from the last batch into a quart of milk, then let it sit overnight in a covered jar or bowl on the counter, or place it on a heating pad for 4 hours during the day.
I have one of those Salton yoghurt makers that makes 5 portions, but it's too much to clean up. It's easier for me to just make one big batch. If I want a thickened yoghurt,
I pour it into a donvier yoghurt cheese maker lined with cheesecloth. When I used the screen alone, too much yoghurt curd pushed through to the bottom container. Perhaps I put too much in. With the cheesecloth lining, only the whey in in the bottom container.


I wouldn't consider your 1/2 gallon of milk wasted unless it smells bad. It probably just needs a little more incubation time.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Greek style yogurt... I forget the brand. The instructions said to get a thicker batch, add 2 Tbls. dry powdered milk to the milk before heating. Mine is finally starting to coagulate so I won't toss it just yet. Draining off excess whey in a cheesecloth is a good idea.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Something else to consider when making yoghurt - how tart do you want the flavour to be? Some cultures traditionally make a very tart yoghurt, others a very mild yoghurt. The longer and warmer the incubation period, the more tart the taste will be.
If you prefer a milder flavour, but a thicker texture, you can do a shorter, cooler incubation and then use the cheesecloth to drain it.

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

garden_mermaid i am glad links i find is helpful. thx.

how to make yogurt guideline http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/ , http://hubpages.com/hub/How_to_make_your_own_yogurt_-_An_illustrated_guide , http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Yogurt

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks Be! Mine made yogurt! I haven't tasted it yet and I don't much care right now how tart it is as I will be adding fruits to it.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)


So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I'm back from my short trip... need to drain my yogurt, saving the whey. What does everyone (anyone?) do with the whey? I know you can use it for ricotta...

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

I add a spoonful to my oatmeal when I set it to soak for the night. Of course, you'll have alot more whey than you'll need for cooking oatmeal porridge.

Ricotta is an option. If I have more than I have time to work with, my plants get it.

Cary, NC(Zone 7b)

I made mozzarella cheese yearssssssssssssss ago. Came out like a rubber ball, didn't have the strenth to strecth it out. lol. But I used the whole milk from the store which probably didn't have enough fat content like buffalo milk. Ever since, just didn't have time and the cose of milk/dairy isn't worth my time/cost to make it myself. BUT, I do enjoy cheese and encourage those who haven't done so at least try it once. :O)


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

When I raised dairy goats, I made feta cheese, and that cottage cheese that your talking about. WE put a little vinegar into boiling milk and it curtles and we strained it, and mix in some ranch seasoning and use it as a dip for crackers.

It's been a couple years since I've made any though. I made the marinade feta also.

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

I have made Yogurt for years...using powdered milk. The reason you boil the milk is to kill the antibiotics given to the cows...which comes out in the milk...which stops the cultures from forming. Powdered milk is made at a high temp which already takes care of it. I grow the yogurt in a widemouth thermus which I have prewarmed with boiling water. Overnight and it is made!!!! Then I drain the yogurt in cheesecloth and make yogurt cheese.... GREAT! Adele Davis was ahead of her time!!!!! On the sailboat in Chile in a snowstorm, we wrapped the Thermos in a Polar Fleece blanket.... Always had great yoggies.

Greenville, WV

You boil the milk to kill bacteria, not antibiotics--thus you must do it even if the cow is not given antibiotics. Bread recipes, for example, that call for milk ask you to bring the milk to a boil, though I'm told it's not necessary for store bought milk.

I get milk from a neighbor up the road and have been making cottage cheese for several years. I use commercial buttermilk--about 1/4 cup per a/2 gallon of (lightly skimmed) milk. After it clabbers, I heat it until it reaches a little warmer than lukewarm and you can see the whey separating. Then I drain it through cheesecloth. After draining it, I add a little fresh cream and salt. Occasionally, a stray culture gets in and the whey gets "stringy". When this happens, it takes a very long time to drain, and the cheese is slightly different in texture, though still delicious. I often use my homemade cheese in recipes that would call for Queso fresco. Mostly, I have it for breakfast in a single egg omelet. MMMMM.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

just buttermilk and low-fat milk to make cottage cheese?

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

What do you all do with the left over whey?
I have a lot and am loathe to see it go to waste


Cave Spring, GA(Zone 7a)

Bumping this up. Has anyone else made cheese?

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