My Cheese-Making Adventure

Last month I took a cheese making class. The instructor was amazing and very knowledgeable. I learned the chemistry behind cheese and came away with confidence that I could make my own cheese. Making your own delicious cheese at home is easy and it doesn’t take a lot of time.

This is a cheese platter I made up for a neighborhood party. See the white cheese on the top tray to the right? That was my homemade cheese! “Was” being the key word here. It was devoured and guests were telling me it was their favorite cheese on the platter. As a beginning cheese maker, I felt accomplished.

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Some tools are required to make cheese so it’s important to make a list of the items you’ll need. A good book is key. I recommend Artisan Cheese Making At Home, by Mary Karlin. This book is very detailed and includes photos and lots of recipes. It’s a beautiful book. Did I mention recipes? How about a Dill Havarti or a Lavender Chevre? Or maybe start out with a cream cheese, Queso Fresco or Ricotta Salata.

The first cheese I made from this book was a basic goat’s milk Chevre. It didn’t last long. Incidentally, finding goat’s milk is not easy. Some stores carry goat’s milk, but it is “ultra” pasteurized and the “ultra” is not what you want. Just “pasteurized.” I finally found some at one Henry’s location. Apparently, dairies started ultra pasteurizing because it lasts on the shelf longer. Unfortunately, this is not good for getting the curds to set properly. Cheese making is all about the chemistry. Did you know that unlike cow’s milk, goat’s milk is naturally homogenized?

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Curds draining in the mold. After draining overnight, the cheese will be placed in a brine for a few hours.

Next I tried a Crescenza with cow’s milk (in the photo above). Crescenza is an Italian soft cheese with a salt brine. It is not aged and is great for spreading on crackers. I ended up with two pounds of Crescenza.

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