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Cooking: who are the home cheesemakers?

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garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

December 26, 2007
4:25 AM

Post #4327307

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?
http://www.cheesemaking.com/default-cPath-22.php

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.
Desertdenial5
Tolleson, AZ
(Zone 9a)

January 2, 2008
8:33 PM

Post #4352280

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!!
MaVieRose
High Desert, CA
(Zone 8a)

January 2, 2008
9:03 PM

Post #4352396

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

darius

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

January 2, 2008
9:25 PM

Post #4352457

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.
MaVieRose
High Desert, CA
(Zone 8a)

January 2, 2008
9:40 PM

Post #4352507

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

darius

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

January 2, 2008
11:54 PM

Post #4352989

Ma Vie, I'm thinking it sure must make a difference... same with humidity. But, I've been wrong lots of times!
MaVieRose
High Desert, CA
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2008
12:46 AM

Post #4353237

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
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 3, 2008
1:05 AM

Post #4353341

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.
http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese.html


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
http://www.cheesemaking.com/includes/modules/jWallace/OnLineNews/NewsFiles/Cave/Cave1.html

Setting up your own cheese cave part2 - article by Jim Wallace
http://www.cheesemaking.com/includes/modules/jWallace/OnLineNews/NewsFiles/Cave/Cave2.html

For the truly ambitious folks with lot's of room and a handy culvert, this cellar could be adapted to a cheese cellar.
http://waltonfeed.com/old/cellar3.html
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 3, 2008
1:06 AM

Post #4353342

Looks like we were posting simulataneously!
MaVieRose
High Desert, CA
(Zone 8a)

January 3, 2008
2:41 AM

Post #4353878

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!
MsKatt
Mid-Michigan, MI
(Zone 5b)

January 6, 2008
3:01 AM

Post #4365874

Cool thread!! I've just recently (in the last year) been making my own yogurt. I'd love to make my own cheeses.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 6, 2008
3:31 AM

Post #4365996

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.
jasmerr
Merrimac, WI
(Zone 4b)

January 13, 2008
7:22 PM

Post #4396443

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.

darius

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

January 13, 2008
8:17 PM

Post #4396677

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.
jasmerr
Merrimac, WI
(Zone 4b)

January 13, 2008
8:21 PM

Post #4396692

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.

darius

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

January 13, 2008
8:55 PM

Post #4396831

I need to own a copy... I read the one from the library. I did download some of her recipes from her website.
jasmerr
Merrimac, WI
(Zone 4b)

January 13, 2008
9:02 PM

Post #4396868

I really glad I have a copy of my own...it has great info I plan to re-read.
MsKatt
Mid-Michigan, MI
(Zone 5b)

January 13, 2008
11:23 PM

Post #4397413

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

darius

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

January 14, 2008
12:48 AM

Post #4397828

Yep, and it's in there at 125ºF. NOT coagulating, though... guess I did something wrong and wasted 1/2 gallon of milk.
MsKatt
Mid-Michigan, MI
(Zone 5b)

January 14, 2008
12:54 AM

Post #4397858

How long has it been in there?

darius

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

January 14, 2008
12:55 AM

Post #4397865

4-5 hours, and my recipe says 3.
MsKatt
Mid-Michigan, MI
(Zone 5b)

January 14, 2008
1:29 AM

Post #4398085

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

darius

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

January 14, 2008
1:56 AM

Post #4398291

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

darius

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

January 14, 2008
1:57 AM

Post #4398297

The only thing I did differently was to use plain Greek yogurt, not Dannon as he suggested.
MsKatt
Mid-Michigan, MI
(Zone 5b)

January 14, 2008
2:34 AM

Post #4398515

http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/yogurt.php?step=0

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.

Michelle
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 14, 2008
3:19 AM

Post #4398823

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 42°C/104°F. 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. "
http://www.ochef.com/r171.htm

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.

http://www.donvier.com/donvier/products/yogurt_cheeseMaker.html
http://www.cheesemaking.com/product_info-cPath-24_35-products_id-87.php

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

darius

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

January 14, 2008
4:15 AM

Post #4399131

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.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 14, 2008
4:46 AM

Post #4399267

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.
MaVieRose
High Desert, CA
(Zone 8a)

January 14, 2008
5:28 AM

Post #4399413

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

darius

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

January 14, 2008
2:56 PM

Post #4400166

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.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 15, 2008
5:03 AM

Post #4404092

Hooray!

darius

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

January 16, 2008
9:50 PM

Post #4411604

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...
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 17, 2008
12:56 AM

Post #4412546

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.
rebecca30
Cary, NC
(Zone 7b)

January 20, 2008
12:21 AM

Post #4426668

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)

r30
kathy_ann
Judsonia, AR
(Zone 7b)

February 15, 2008
5:11 AM

Post #4540635

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.
AlohaHoya
Keaau, HI
(Zone 11)

February 15, 2008
5:21 AM

Post #4540667

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.
laceyvail
Greenville, WV

February 18, 2008
12:23 PM

Post #4554343

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.

darius

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

February 18, 2008
2:02 PM

Post #4554645

just buttermilk and low-fat milk to make cottage cheese?
dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

February 20, 2008
2:32 PM

Post #4563942

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

Dove
merkat123
Cave Spring, GA
(Zone 7a)

August 18, 2008
7:33 PM

Post #5431881

Bumping this up. Has anyone else made cheese?
rebecca30
Cary, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 19, 2008
12:31 AM

Post #5433089

With the extra left over whey, i thought the pennslyvian dutch make a loosly formed cheese from the extra whey, or at least a type of cheese spread. Not sure. It's been years since I had the stuff. A local specialty.

rebecca30
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

August 19, 2008
1:16 AM

Post #5433331

That sounds like ricotta, or an Amish form of ricotta.

darius

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

August 19, 2008
1:56 AM

Post #5433542

Recently I read of a use for whey that had to do with soil improvement... maybe I'll awaken in the middle of a night and remember WHAT it was!
dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

August 19, 2008
1:07 PM

Post #5435244

I've made ricotta, it's (IMO) hardly worth the effort, you get such a small amount, for such a hot job of boiling the whey.
(A quarter cup from a gallon of whey) Perhaps if I was a big cheese maker and had barrels of whey...

Darius, I've started using my whey in the garden. I don't feel it's going to waste if it's improving the soil that grows my vegetables or beautiful roses. What I read is that not only does it encourage micro-organisms in the soil, the worms love it, so you also increase your worm population.

I make soft cheese (like cream cheese with a kick) and feta from my homemade kefir.

darius

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

August 21, 2008
1:19 PM

Post #5446174

I FOUND IT!!! (Use for whey)... It's in this fermented pickles recipe although it does not say how much whey.

Lactic Acid-Fermented Cucumbers
(For 1 quart/liter preserving crock)

3 cups cucumbers, quartered if large, or use fork to poke a few holes in small ones
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. sea salt or pickling salt
½ small onion, sliced in rings
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs. fresh horseradish root, chopped or shredded
1 tsp. mustard seeds
lots of fresh dill
1 stem fresh tarragon
3-4 whole coriander seeds
boiling salt water to fill container (1-1/4 Tbs. salt to 1 Qt water)
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar, optional

Horseradish keeps pickled cucumbers crisp for a long time.

Pack the cucumbers, onions, garlic, horseradish and herbs firmly in layers into the preserving jar until jar is 80% full. Fill up the jar with salted water (and whey if you have any), making sure there is ½ inch layer of liquid covering the cucumbers and seal tight. Leave the container at room temperature for 10 days, until they stop fermenting, then place in a cool/cold spot. Cucumbers will be ready to eat after 2-3 weeks of cold storage.

Note: I make mine in a large batch my a 7.5 liter Harsch Fermenting Crock which has an air-lock to keep unwanted yeast out. I can store them in the crock in the cool root cellar for months, unless we eat them first. Smaller quantities can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Edited to add whey amount: Use 2 TBS. WHEY for every 3 Tbs. salt


This message was edited Aug 21, 2008 9:26 AM
dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

August 21, 2008
2:07 PM

Post #5446397

I've never made pickles with whey, but I've used it to make sauerkraut... ugh.
Either I did something terribly wrong (like adding too much whey) or it's a developed taste.

On the other hand if you like the taste, lacto-fermentation is really healthy.

I would love to have a Harsch crock, those things are great.

darius

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

August 21, 2008
2:28 PM

Post #5446527

Dove, I've not used whey in my Harsch crock, but I DO love the pickles and sauerkraut made in them (I have 2).
dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

August 21, 2008
5:01 PM

Post #5447394

OK now I'm green with envy
merkat123
Cave Spring, GA
(Zone 7a)

August 22, 2008
3:26 PM

Post #5452058

Darius, Some day I hope I will learn to make cheese. Wednesday I made my first crock of sauerkraut. Where did you get your Harsch Crock? I worry about wriggly things getting in whatever I'm trying to ferment. Do you ever store your crocks down in your spring house? Linda

darius

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

August 22, 2008
3:37 PM

Post #5452113

Linda, I bought my crocks online but I don't remember where. (It's been 2 years.) I'm leery of storing filled crocks in the spring house since I don't use it. Someday I'll get the spring dug out again and the door fixed...

Instead, I store my crocks in the root cellar, which is a small block building near the house. It's partially buried (back wall and half the sides) and has a poured floor.
merkat123
Cave Spring, GA
(Zone 7a)

August 22, 2008
10:06 PM

Post #5453871

Darius, I'm always amazed at all the things you do. I know you were putting in fruit trees and berry vines. Do you have milk goats so you can make cheese? Also when you make cheese, do you need unpasturized milk or can you use store bought milk? Linda

darius

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

August 22, 2008
10:39 PM

Post #5454023

A milk goat or two is on my list... way down after fencing! Chickens will come before goats but only after I get all the fruits I want planted, hopefully next year.

Most cheese recipes online call for pasteurized milk. As far as I know, only a couple of states allow the sale of raw milk cheese, or even raw milk. However, that's my preferred route.
AprilHillside
Waterville, KS

September 20, 2008
8:37 PM

Post #5577229

I have made ricotta cheese one time and a batch of homemade mozzarella cheese and it was good. Used the whey as my liquid in homemade bread. It gives the bread a distinctive taste that is very good. Certainly no expert on the subject though. All the best !
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 8, 2009
6:08 AM

Post #5980343

Bump!

Thought I'd bump this thread up to the top again as darius has asked about cheese making on the Canning/Preserving forum.

Any new comments, stories, or true confessions on home made cheese since September?

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

February 22, 2009
3:40 PM

Post #6173323

When we had goats I used to make cheese with the extra milk, and of course we had lots of extra milk. I bought some small plastic baskets from a local cheesemaker - who's probably not there anymore - and we made a small press out of a can and some wood with weights which fitted into the apparatus. My goat cheese didn't taste very cheesy until one day I somehow managed to attract the proper yeasts or molds, and after that, as long as I used the same board to ripen my cheeses, they were all wonderful.

I also used to make yoghurt, using very low-tech equipment. Here's my old recipe:

Sprite’s Yoghurt

1 - 1 tsp gelatin in 1/4 cup warm water; add boiling water to 1 cup level, and 2 or 3 tbsps. honey. Set aside.

2 - Mix 3 cups of milk powder + 3 cups warm water (or 5 cups warm whole milk: cow, goat, etc.) + 1 14-oz. can evaporated milk.

Mix 1 + 2 together, adding 1 cup (or 2, for thinner yoghurt) warm water and 3 tbsps. yoghurt as starter (Dannon)

Put yoghurt in covered pan (stoneware or pottery works well) in preheated 300 degree oven, turning oven off immediately, and let stand 6 - 12 hours.

If still not set, heat oven so yoghurt gets warm again, add 3 more tbsps. yoghurt starter, and stir. Turn off oven and wait again.

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