Beginners Guide to Making Homemade Cheese

Making homemade cheese is fun and easy to do.
It does take a little bit of time to make, but is well worth the effort.
Below are pictures from one of our first batches of homemade cheese.
This is a Monterey Jack that took us about 4 hours to make.
Next to each picture is an explanation of the steps involved.
You can click on any picture below to see it in full size,
This recipe makes about one pound of delicious homemade cheese.

You will need these Ingredients

You will also need the following equipment

  • Double Boiler
  • Dairy Thermometer
  • Curd Cutter or Long Knife
  • Colander or Strainer
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Slotted Ladle
  • All Natural Brush
  • Cheese Press or Cheese Moulds
We use a hot water canner for our outside container. Fill it an inch or so above the wire rack. About the same amount you would use for canning. Warm up the water and bring it to a constant temperature of 88 degrees. Click to view full size
Once your water is to temperature, place a 2nd pot inside the first one that is big enough to hold your milk. We suspend a thermometer with a large rubber band to constantly monitor and adjust the temperature. Warm your milk to a constant 88 degrees. Then add your mesophillic starter and stir it in thoroughly. Cover and allow the milk to ripen for 30 minutes. Click to view full size
After 30 minutes remove the inner container from the canner and place it in a sink of water with a water temperature of 90 degrees. Add your calcium chloride that has been diluted in a 1/4 cup of water. Add hot water to the sink to raise the temperature of the milk to 90 degrees. Then add your rennet that has been diluted in a 1/4 cup of water. Cover and maintain a constant temperature of 90 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Until you are given a 'Clean Break'. Click to view full size
A 'Clean Break' occurs when you can drag your thermometer through the curd and it separates in to two sections firmly and cleanly. The curd will separate from the sides a little bit when a 'Clean Break' occurs. Click to view full size
Take a long knife or curd cutter and cut the curd in to quarter inch cubes. Here we use a pastry / frosting spreader to cut up the curds. Click to view full size
The curds should look like this once they have been cut up. Cover and let the curds sit for 40 minutes. Click to view full size
Place you inner container back in the hot water canner and over 30 minutes slowly raise the temperature to 100 degrees. Stir frequently to prevent the curds from matting together. Maintain a constant temperature of 100 degrees for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent matting together. Click to view full size
Remove the inner container from the canner and pour off some of the whey. Then place it in a sink of warm water with a water temperature of 100 degrees and let it sit for 5 minutes. Cover and maintain a 100 degree temperature for 30 minutes, stir the curds occasionally. Add hot water to the sink if you need to raise the temperature of the curd back to 100 degrees. Click to view full size
Line your strainer / colander with cheesecloth and ladle your curds in to the colander. Gently mix in your cheese salt and let it drain a little while. Click to view full size
Assemble your cheese press and ladle your curds in to press or in to a cheese mould. We use the outstanding cheese press sold by The Cheese Maker. It is one of the most economical cheese presses available. You may want to line your cheese press with a cheesecloth. For our cheese press it is optional. Click to view full size
Apply 3 lbs. of pressure or weight for 15 minutes. Then turn the cheese over and apply 10 pounds of pressure for 12 hours. If you are using a cheesecloth redress it when you are turning it over. Click to view full size
Remove the cheese from the press. Place it on an elevated cookie sheet with a draining mat underneath. Turn the cheese over twice day for 1 to 3 days, until it is dry to the touch. The whey can be used to make Ricotta cheese or given to livestock. Click to view full size
Apply cheese wax with an all natural brush. Click to view full size
Age the cheese at 55 degrees for 1 to 4 months, turning it over once or twice a week. Click to view full size

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