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  • Cheesemaking

    LMonty was the inspiration for this thread. Thanks.

    The first cheese was an accident! Early shephers would carry milk with them in an animals skin/gut. The enzymes "curdled" the milk & the acid helped preserve it. That was the beginning of cheese.

    There are very simple techiniques to start with (I've read, but haven't done, so perhaps my time has arrived). Perhaps several of us can make our first "childs cheese."

    I would suggest Cheesemaking 101 at http://www.cheesemaking.com/product_...cts_id-128.php

    Typically cheese Makers think of the production of soft cheeses and hard cheeses separately. Here we will discuss how to make soft cheeses. For a discussion of the production of hard cheeses, see Cheese Making 201 -- Hard Cheeses.

    The soft cheeses that most people are familiar with include cottage cheese, "goat" cheese, cream cheese, etc. Roughly speaking, any cheese that can be spread with a knife will have been produced by a "soft" process. There are 3 basic steps in making a soft cheese:
    1. Persuade the solids in the milk to coagulate into curds
    2. Separate the coagulated curds from the remaining fluid, called whey (Yes, this is exactly the same Curds and Whey that Little Miss Muffet has been unsuccessfully trying to finish for the past few centuries.)
    3. Eat
    The trip from step 1 to step 3 can take anywhere from an hour to a few days. For hard cheeses, the comparable time is usually measured in months. So, you can see why we typically recommend that people start by making soft cheeses.
    There are a wide variety of soft cheeses. What differentiates one soft cheese from another is mostly the method of persuasion used on the curds. Basically, there are two ways to get the curds to do their thing:
    1. raise the acid level of the milk until the solids simply give up the ghost and clump together (i.e. curdle)
    2. add an animal derivative called rennet to the milk. The rennet contains an enzyme called rennin that does the curd-making deed.
      Often, one uses some combination of acid-induced and rennet-induced coagulation to produce a particular cheese.
      Within the realm of acid-induced coagulation, there are two primary options to choose from:
      1. add a highly acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar to the milk.
      2. add a carefully chosen strain of lactose-lovin' bacteria to the milk and allow the little buggers to reproduce like mad. One byproduct of this bacterialogical feeding frenzy will be lactic acid. Soon (typically within a few hours) the bacteria will produce enough lactic acid to make the milk curdle. By the way, bacterially-induced coagulation is also used to produce yogurt.
      Adding an acidic fluid produces essentially instant coagulation. It's a great way to examine the coagulation process up close and personal. Try Lemon Cheese as an easy first cheese. Acid-fluid cheeses are quite good, but serious cheese connoiseurs tend to prefer cheeses made with bacterially-induced coagulation.
      Separating curds from whey is a simple filtration process. The most common technique is to scoop the curds and whey into a specially manufactured cloth named (surprise!) cheesecloth and let the whey drain out the bottom of the bundle.
      Oh yes, we should mention TWO BIG HINTS
      • with milk, freshness counts
        The fresher the milk, the better the cheese. If you happen to live in a place where they have real live cows walking around, try to find a friendly farmer (don't try to find a friendly cow by yourself) and get some really fresh milk. If you are going to be using the milk to make soft cheese, make sure that you pasturize the milk first.
        Store-bought milk can make perfectly good cheese. The fresher your milk the better your cheese. If you are milking your own animal, chill immediately and use the milk as soon as possible. Cheese Making will never make bad milk better. If you are so inclined ask your local grocer to carry milk that has not been "Ultra"-pasteurized. This is dead milk and really has nothing in the way of redeeming quality.
        Once you get started, we heartily suggest that you try a few different sources of milk to see which is the best for you. As we said, it really makes a difference.
      • with everything, cleanliness counts
      Basically, you are going to leave a bunch of milk out overnight and let it "rot." You might ask: "So why doesn't the milk just go sour?" The answer is cleanliness. Yes -- Cleanliness Counts.
      You need to make sure that your selected strain of bacteria is the only strain of bacteria that is allowed to chow down on all that lovely lactose. Therefore, EVERYTHING that touches the milk, culture, rennet, etc needs to be carefully sterilized before it can be used to make cheese. That's pretty much the whole story in a nutshell. Given that the process of making cheese from milk is so straightforward, it is surprising that the craft has become fairly obscure in modern times. Nonetheless, given the current rarity of home cheese Makers (as opposed with say, home beermakers) the novice typically can't get their hands on that most useful of resources ... the experienced craftsperson. As a result, you will no doubt, at some point, find yourself staring at a large lump of white glop and wondering "Can this be right?" Usually, the answer is "Yes." So press on. And with a modest bit of perseverance, you will be able to have the pleasure of enjoying a newly made cheese as well as a new hobby.
    "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

  • #2
    Re: Cheesemaking

    http://www.cheesemaking.com/text_det...cts_id=120.php





    This rich and delicious cheese may be made in the evening and will be ready to spread on hot croissants for breakfast! It is a great cheese to start for all ages and experience. You may have to add a bit more or less lemon juice depending on the milk you use.

    Ingredients
    • 1 gallon of milk
    • 2 large lemons

    Warm milk to 165 degrees F (you may go up to 190F to help your milk coagulate). Stir often to avoid scorching the milk. Add the juice of the lemons to the milk. Stir and allow to set off the stove for 15 minutes.

    The warm milk will separate into a stringy curd and a greenish liquid whey. Line a colander with cheesecloth and pour the curds and whey into the colander. Save the whey for baking bread if desired. Tie four corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag of curds to drain for an hour or until it reaches the desired consistancy. Remove the cheese from the cloth and place it in a bowl. Add salt to taste -- usually about 1/4 teaspoon. You may mix in herbs. Fresh dill leaves are delicious. Place the cheese in a covered container and store in the refrigerator. This cheese will keep up to a week. It is a moist spreadable cheese with a hint of lemon taste.
    "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

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    • #3
      Re: Cheesemaking

      AlaskaDenise
      Thanks for this great thread. I have made cheese in the past using goat milk. I raised several goats and had plenty of milk on hand after they kidded. There's a great web site for cheesemaking supplies; www.caprinesupply.com You can purchase rennet and keep it frozen for future use. Chevre, soft goat cheese, is such a treat and very easy to make. It is mild like cream cheese and can also be breaded and baked like mozzarella sticks - my kids couldn't tell the difference. I look forward to seeing more posts on cheesemaking!

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      • #4
        Re: Cheesemaking

        Link to cheesemaking and recipes at

        FANKHAUSER'S CHEESE PAGE

        http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML
        http://novel-infectious-diseases.blogspot.com/

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        • #5
          Re: Cheesemaking

          Originally posted by Laidback Al View Post
          Link to cheesemaking and recipes at

          FANKHAUSER'S CHEESE PAGE

          http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML
          This is a great site. Fankhauser is a Biology/Chemistry Prof. and the site is a mix of cook book and well documented lab experiment - very much to my liking.

          Thanks Al

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          • #6
            Re: Cheesemaking

            Cheese Recipes using rennet from the Junket company. Hint if trying the recipe for fete cheese, if you run low on brine do not double the recipe for the brine or it will come out way too salty. I tried it using goat milk. - AC

            http://www.junketdesserts.com/cheeserecipes.aspx
            We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.

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            • #7
              Re: Cheesemaking

              First Cheesemakers Date Back 7,500 Years

              The first direct signs of cheesemaking now seen in potsherds from Poland may help reveal how animal milk dramatically shaped the genetics of Europe, scientists reported today (Dec. 12).

              Although cheese may just seem to be a topping on pizza or a companion to wine, it may have shaped the evolution of Europeans, researchers say. Cheese evolved after the development of dairy farming, which helped people take advantage of animal milk, a highly nutritious food one can sustainably procure.

              Most of the world, including the ancestors of modern Europeans, is lactose intolerant, unable to digest the milk sugar lactose as adults. However, while cheese is a dairy product, it is relatively low in lactose.

              more at: http://www.livescience.com/25472-fir...iscovered.html

              Original Nature article abstract (full article behind paywall):

              Earliest evidence for cheese making in the sixth millennium bc in northern Europe<object style="position:absolute;z-index:1000" type="application/x-dgnria" id="plugin0" height="0" width="0">

              </object>
              http://novel-infectious-diseases.blogspot.com/

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