Have you ever found yourself bitching in the cheese aisle of the supermarket because you can’t find any cheese made with good quality milk and free of additives and preservatives?
When you know that cheese is basically just milk and salt?
I know I have, many times.
Yet making soft cheese is really…SIMPLE.
So today I want to show you how you can make it yourself at home and how you can have about a pound (or more) of good cheese in about 10 minutes.
It takes actually a lot more time reading the recipe the first time than making the cheese 🙂
I am sure you will enjoy making your homemade soft cheese with different flavors, and you can then pair it with my super easy homemade no-knead bread.
Let’s get started!
What you need is GOOD milk; the real stuff…not the bluish liquid they sell by the gallon in supermarkets…
Here I am using about a gallon (4 liters) milk but the first time you make it, it will be easier to use only about half a gallon (2 liters).
Pour the milk into a pan and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, line a stainless steel colander with cheese cloth (or a thin dishcloth).
We are also going to prepare the acidic liquid that will allow the milk to coagulate. Once you pour this liquid into the pan, the milk will separate between milk solids and whey.
You can use lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar, or a combination of both. I like to use half vinegar half lemon juice.
When I use only lemon juice, the cheese is a bit too soft, while when I use only vinegar, it has a stronger taste.
You can experiment and pick what you like best.
To get started, I suggest you also use a mixture of the two.
In a small glass, pour half a cup or 120 ml of liquid: 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice and 1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar.
Just before the milk starts to boil, take off the heat and gently pour the liquid you prepared in step 2 into the pan, while gently steering continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula.
After about a minute only, the milk will separate:
Place the colander in the sink and pour the liquid.
If you need some whey, simply place a large stainless steel bowl under the colander and you’ll get enough whey for a few months or so. You will store the whey in a glass jar in the fridge.
You can use the whey to make your own:
and much more.
Wait for a few minutes until most of the whey has been drained and the cheese looks like this (it can also curdle more and look more crumbled):
Now you can add the salt: about 1 tablespoon (15g) for half a gallon milk. Use unrefined sea salt.
Mix well so the salt gets into the cheese. It will help get more water (whey) out.
At this point we can add the condiments. It’s optional but recommended because you’ll get a naturally flavored cheese.
In this first version I add about 2 tsp. dried oregano as well as 1 tbsp. of fresh rosemary from my garden. Of course you can use dried rosemary instead:
In this other version I add chopped pecans, chopped dried apricots and a few dried cranberries (sooo delicious!):
Once mixed into the cheese, it looks like this:
Now we are going to take the dishcloth and make a ball.
Make sure you put a gum band so the cloth holds the cheese nicely.
To give the cheese its form, we are going to place it on a board and put a weight of about 4 lbs (2 kilos) on it. If you’re using half a gallon, which means the cheese will be smaller, you can use 2 lbs (1 kilo).
Make sure to slightly incline the board so the whey can drip off into the sink.
After an hour or so, you can unwrap your cheese!
Now you can place the cheese in the refrigerator.
It will be good to eat after a couple of days (before this, it will probably be too soft), and up to a week or so (I’ve actually never tried to keep it longer).
Now it’s time to marvel at your cheese making skills and enjoy a good piece!
Rosemary and oregano cheese:
Pecan, apricots and cranberries cheese:
If you’re not yet a member of the community, click below to join, and you can post the picture of your cheese in the private group!
I’d love to see your cheese!