Homestead cheese making

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Here we go, a place for recipes, questions, tips..and general chat welcome :0)
I'll be posting recipes in this spot to make finding a new or favorite recipe easier.
Please, remember to make sure your recipe is in one post. Anything I can do to make this post easier to understand or navigate, please let me know.


cream cheese

Made with citric powder or buttermilk

Beginner tips and photos of homemade presses:

Homemade mesophilic (meso) starter culture:

This message was edited Sep 13, 2011 10:37 AM

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

Thanks for doing this. ^_^

I'll be adding tips and makes as I get back to making cheese soon (now that I have a 'cave').

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

No problem.
Were you able to salvage that last blue?
I've been wanting to make some, now would be perfect. It would be aged in time for a fall salad crop.
I was going to use a blue from the store to inoculate. However, all I can find locally, say on the label "natural mold inhibitor to protect freshness"??? Isn't that ridiculous for a moldy Anyway, I don't think it would work and I don't feel like wasting the curd to find out.
I'll have to wait for someone in the city to bring me the real stuff.

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

Well, I'm hoping it survives. I washed it with vinegar and salt, put it in a clean container in the house fridge until I got the mini cave cleaned. It's back in there now, and needs the second piercing... I put a pan of water with a mound of rock salt on the shelf below. Haven't checked the humidity yet today, and the remote doesn't send a good signal from inside that cave.

I did save some rind from a store blue; never thought to read the label! It's in the freezer, and I should chuck it. Man, the tiny amount of p. roqueforti I received for what I paid was sinful.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Darius, that's neat that you have a cave so that you can make hard cheeses. Because I am into too many gardening "things", I don't have time to nurture/tend to hard cheeses! Nor do I have a cheese cave! I'll just enjoy reading about everyone's cheesemaking experiences. Good luck with your bleu!

Cocoa--HERE I AM!! So, will this be for any recipes or just cheese/dairy recipes?
I am just about to read about making cream cheese at home. I bet it is a TON better than store bought... Janet

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Oh, I just saw the title of the thread! Recipes for cheese and dairy. OK!

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

Welcome, bariolio! Watch out... you may get the bug yet.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Yeah, I can't justify buying p. roqueforti, not yet anyway. I don't think we'd eat more then 4lbs a year. I do hope that I can freeze chunks of a blue for use. Does the p. roqueforti you bought have directions for storing? Can it be frozen?

Yay, Bariolio. Glad you found us! All dairy products and their uses welcome! Yogurt and such are gateway dairy thing you know you'll be eyeing dumb-bells at garage sales. Thinking of ways to incorporate them on a homemade cheese press :0)

There are ways to age a few cheeses without a cave, and I use a home made (read, cheap) press. Darius made her cave as well. We are here to enable :0)

Please, feel free to post any dairy recipes you got. Sometimes people have more issues with some of the things I think of as simple to make, and yet, I still can't make a cream cheese that I Everyone has way of doing something a bit different, it helps us all.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Saving my place. I'll jump in with lots of questions in a week or so.

Leesburg, VA(Zone 7a)

Looking forward to following this thread. Darius is such an enabler. ;))

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

Yes, the p. roqueforti can, and should be frozen. I don't remember if my tiny jar came with directions for storing but maybe they did, because it went right away into the freezer. The recipe for the Stilton wheels I have started (2 gallon batches) called for 1/4 tsp. which I think could be cut down. I've started 3 so far, and maybe have enough p. roqueforti for at least 1 more try.

First tip right up front is to get some real liquid calf rennet if you plan to ever make any cheese that ages more than 60 days. It keeps a long time refrigerated. I started cheesemaking by using Junket tablets from the grocery store, then bought some rennet tablets when I bought the p. roqueforti. After reading comments about the tendency of the rennet tablets to make aged cheese taste bitter, I bought a small jar of liquid calf rennet and switched.

Now I have several 2 lb wheels of 2 different cheese types in the cave that are approaching 4 months and they have slightly bitter overtones. I haven't checked my notes yet, but I feel fairly sure they were made with the tablets, not the liquid, and should be thrown away because I don't think there's any way to fix them. What a waste of time and ingredients!

Second tip: Never use Junket/ rennet tablets with raw milk for aged cheese. The possibility of listeria contamination is pretty high.

For beginning cheesemakers, your initial supply list can be as simple as buying calf rennet and calcium chloride (for pasteurized milk) and making meso and thermo cultures at home from cultured buttermilk and plain yogurt containing live cultures. It's recommended that you stick to one type of cheese until you really understand all the variables that affect cheesemaking, like the seasonal differences in milk, 'make' temp. and humidity variations, etc. Once you get that down pat you can decide whether you need or want to buy more complex cultures to make cheese like blues, brie, camembert, morbier....

You can use old kitchen glassware towels (but NOT terry) for draining, or buy butter muslin for fine cheesecloth (I did). I also bought some "flour sacks" from, which are not actually sacks but hemmed squares of a high thread count cotton. Because it becomes harder and harder to clean the cheese residue from the cloth, I'm thinking to order some plyban to try.

After I learned that I really love making cheese, converting an old refrigerator into a temp. controlled cave was my first big expenditure. Next will be either a better homemade press, or a restaurant food warmer (with a good added temp. controller that I already have) that holds more than 2 gallons. Some recipes call for raising the temp. by 2º every 15 minutes, impossible on my electric stove, plus my biggest SS pot only holds 2 gallons. (Some cheese types age better from 4 gallon batches.)

Here's my current homemade cheese press, shown with a 22 lb. concrete block weight. I also have some free weights, so I can press from 5 lbs. to 50 lbs. The guide pipes for the movable top board are just cut pieces of the cheap electrical conduit tubing. It works, but it's cumbersome.

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

Here's my press on a cheddar, which needs a lot more weight. See, you can be creative with weights...

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Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Great tips! I'll get a photo of my press soon. Same principle and from scrap pieces too :0)

I use butter muslin as well. Try to remove the curd by soaking the cloth a few hours in water and few drops of dish soap. I drape it over the center or wall of the sink and use my curd knife (icing spatula) to scrape off the stuck bits. I get about twice the life out muslin that way. If you have or hear of an easier way, lmk! please.
Cleaning muslin is such a

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

True... but I'm finding it impossible to get the 'milk stone' off the cheesecloth... it is such a fine protein layer that builds up.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Ok, that's weird. I don't have any buildup of any sort on my cheese cloth. I toss it into washing machine when I'm done. But it doesn't sound like that would make a difference.
People who use milking machines use vinegar to remove milk stone deposits. Perhaps, worth a try.

Hey, now that I think about it. I wash my cheese cloth with my rags that I use to wash the udders. And my my udder wash is vinegar.

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

LOL! Ain't afterthoughts great?

I won't use soap on mine, never can get all the residue out even with my fragrance- and dye-free soap. I DO boil mine, just before using.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

How do ya like this, cheeseyfriends? I was tired of washing butter muslin and found this fine stainless steel mesh, from a company in CA. I have some left to make more strainers. I needed something to hold 1/2 gallon of yogurt to make yochee (yogurt cheese). It was expensive but worth it. After using, I rinse with the sink sprayer and cold water, then run through the dishwasher. If I made cheeses with it, I'd boil to sterilize. I got the idea from people using permanent coffee filters to drain yogurt. I should go into business and market them!

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Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

It fits in one of my Rubbermaid containers.

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Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I know using ultra pasteurized milk for yogurt is not supposed to work. I have a gallon of raw milk and want to add a pint of heavy cream that's ultrap. Do you think this will mess up the yogurt? REALLY don't want to mess up my precious raw milk!

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

That is too cool!!! Congrats. ^_^

I have no clue about the ultra-p cream. Why do you need cream to make yogurt? I don't.... but I do strain it for yogurt cheese.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Hope this goes thu...having computer problems.

Love the strainer looks like it takes up less room then my strainer as well!

No to UP cream, the protein and enzymes are broken down. I can't remember the specifics, but it doesn't react the same as raw or pasteurized dairy. I hate that's even on the market.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I just wanted ultra creamy yogurt! Thanks for the info. I tried to get fresh cream but they didn't have any extra--said something about the heat and the cows. Maybe it's "lean milk" time of the year? And I don't know of any "just" pasteurized cream. So I'll just use the fresh raw for my next yogurt.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Perhaps, inoculating them separately. You could stir together after they 'set'...nothing to loose that way.
I know how you feel I love a full fat yogurt. Non-fat yogurt is a crime to

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I always say, "Dairy fat is my favorite fat". LOL! I am not a "dieter", but recently started eating low carb. Been having some health issues and need to see if it makes a difference in how I feel (and look, eventually). So, good fats are on the menu!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Good luck, I do hope it makes you feel better. It's never fun not to feel your best.

I looked in one of my cake books, since there is a large section on stabilizing creams. Thought it might give some hints. Guess not, Here's the author's description of UP cream "which has the soul of mediocrity and should be banned"
Nearly as dramatic as '"crime to mankind"lol
I like her.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Cocoa. I hope to get my hands on some fresh, raw cream this Sat!

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

bariolio, I went on a really low-carb regime about a year and a half ago, and felt GREAT. That's when I got interested in making cheese. ^_^ Within 3 months I was off all meds, including BP meds! (I also lost weight, which was great, although that was not my primary goal.) My good fat intake increased a LOT and my cholesterol ratios improved too. The only fats I use now are EVOO, EV coconut oil, butter, and home-rendered animal fats from pastured animals.

I kept my carbs below 100 g/day until Fall when I started falling off the wagon. I'm climbing up on it again because as I ate more carbs, I started feeling worse. Starchy carbs are SO addictive.

There is a Jersey dairy up in the next town that sells pasteurized cream, which I buy for my coffee and to make butter. I do use their milk for cheese, but it's P/H and only 3/4% BF. It's okay for cheese but I really should learn how much cream to add for creamier cheese. Raw milk sales are illegal here so I'm looking into cow shares.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

I've been wondering if the reason I can't make a cream cheese or sour cream without it being 'greasy' is the homogenization?
Cow shares would be perfect for you, Darius. I hope you can find one. Have you asked of KFC forum? There maybe a local family that is willing to have 'one share', but wouldn't ever bother to advertise for it.

I inoculated some morning milk with an effervescent buttermilk culture (DCI-901). Will make a fresh cheese from it, don't know what, yet :0)

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

Whoops, just saw an error in my post just above... the P/H Jersey milk has the cream skimmed off to 3.4% BF, not 3/4%! (I should edit it, but probably won't.)

Lynea, I thought you only used your own milk... so why P/H milk for sour cream and cream cheese?

I haven't seen anyone even remotely local on the KFC forum. There is a cow share I know I can buy, but I can only get 1 gallon/week for $9, AND I have to drive 50 miles each way to fetch it.

I'm ready to start making cheese again, but I'm broke and cannot buy milk until Aug. 3rd when I get my next check, assuming the gov't doesn't shut down.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

No worries here, you know I stink at math and would never catch
I do use my milk, but I can't make a cream cheese or sour cream that is similar in texture to a store bought. Come to think of it, if I don't remove all the cream from my milk when making cottage cheese (I use a no cooked method), it leaves bits with an unpleasant texture. I don't have any greasy textures with cooked curds and a high cream content. So maybe, a cooked curd cream cheese might work? Unfortunately, it's too hot to be making any sort of cream cheese at the moment.

I can substitute a fresh type cheese for cream cheese in some recipes..but not all.I usually just do without those cheesecake. My daughter is the sour cream lover, so I buy sour cream at the store when she's here...yes, I feel stupid doing

I would still encourage you to ask outright for a cowshare, if you haven't already. I rarely post there and I know of at least 6 places I would send you looking if you lived nearby. None of those people post on KFC either. You never know, who know somebody, that knows somebody :0)
I see a few people in the farm section of craiglist looking for raw cow/goat milk, another resource.
Somewhere on KFC, I remember seeing some pre-made contracts for cow shares as well. You might see if someone has put together one for your state or similar state laws. I imagine it would make an individual cow owner a bit more comfortable knowing exactly what is expected of them and vise versa, especially if they have never 'shared' before.

Then on the hand, if the gov't shuts down, milk might be the least of our worries. They need to get it together or take it out of their own paychecks.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Here's my cheese press. Two old cutting boards that had seen better days. DH used a keyhole bit and drilled the holes half way thu the thicker base, then glued and screwed the dowels (from hardware store) in place. Follower is a piece of untreated oak, cut into a circle with a jigsaw. Drip pan is a cake pan,dh cut a left a spout for drainage (not sure tool he used to do this). Mold is 6" PVR water line. We got it for free when we noticed the city workers installing line downtown. They were happy to give us a scrap of the new stuff. If using PVC, make sure it is 'water line' safe. Waste drain pvc pipe is not food safe. I use an assortment of 'found' weights. The only thing we had to purchase was the wooden dowels.

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

That looks just like mine and perhaps a bit sturdier. I need a drip pan!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

I've been using it over two years and it's held up. The only thing I'd change. I wished I had measured the height of the dowels. An inch shorter, and it would fit right under my sink. Now I haul it to the the laundry room to store. It wouldn't be too hard to recut them, but little details like that don't make it to the top of our priority list very

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I have a question I should know the answer to but don't remember. I want to make some simple chevre but don't remember the temp to bring the milk up to. Also, isn't it 1/4 cup vinegar to make it curdle? I should have enough goat milk to give it a try soon.

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

Sorry, I'm not any help since I've never made chevré. (Or seldom have goat milk available.) The recipes I have call for a meso culture, rennet and 80ºF milk, although one calls for 72º milk.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Add the vinegar at 180* you can raise the temp up to 200* for maximum curd and add a bit more vinegar if needed.

Apple cider vinegar will taste better then white, but lemon juice is the best tasting. If you can get tart acidic lemons. A meyers type lemon doesn't have a lot acidity, so you may need up to 1/2 cup per gallon.

Those are variations of cow milk, panir and queso blanco. But I see a lot of homesteaders with goats call it chevre and their end cheese looks different then from cow milk. Chevre means 'goat' so that could be

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

This recipe uses cultures but may have some useful info for you. I've never made it and I haven't cared for any goat's milk cheeses I've tasted in the past. Fresh might be better, though. Good luck! Janet

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I used white vinegar last time and whole cow's milk from the store. I have some ACV and will try that. Thanks so much. I'll let you know how it turns out. I got about 18 oz of milk this morning. I start milking the second doe a week from tomorrow!!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Hey Janet, you make mozzarella? There is someone looking for a recipe from store bought milk in the 'recipe' forum. I can't remember if lipase is a necessity with store bought, or just added for flavor. If you have a moment, I'm sure they would appreciate the help.

Edited for forum link:

This message was edited Jul 27, 2011 11:03 AM

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Got it! Thanks!

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