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Cheesemaking?

Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:39 pm
by Shortie
Hi everyone!

I'm currently reading up on cheesemaking. Its something I've never done but fancy giving a go.

However, I do want to try cheesemaking at home cos I love the stuff.

Has anyone tried making cheese? I've seen that some of the softer cheeses are quite easy.

I can get the cheesemaking ingredients easily enough, but it looks like the cheese presses/moulds etc are quite a price.

I'm not sure I want to spend such a large amount if I don't end up fully immersing myself into it.
Has anyone made/used any home-made equipment for cheese presses/ moulds?

Information on traditional or modern ways of making cheese would be great.

I'm very interested to know if anyone here has actually made cheese or the equipment and what their experience has been as well as historical info as I want to be able to make my own :P

Ta :D

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:39 pm
by sally
You need very little to start off, start with soft cheeses and work up from there. You can improvise simple moulds from plastic tubs.

For a first go, a strained yogurt cheese is great, it comes out like philidelphia and all you need to do is scald a muslin, tip a tub of cheap plain yogurt into it, and let it drip overnight before beating in chives, black pepper or any other flavourings you fancy.

You can buy dry rennet tablets (got mine on ebay last time I think) that will let you make proper curds for more traditional cheeses, there are online recipes for halloumi and mozzarella that don't need moulds as well, those are great fun to try!

If you are an avid winemaker though, beware as there is something odd about fermenting wine that can stop cheese doing its thing properly. I don't make cheese often as we usually have a kitchen full of wine fermenters

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:01 pm
by bonnacon
Take a pint full cream milk, chuck in the juice of a lemon, stir it round and then let it sit somewhere warmish overnight and hey presto drain whats left in the morning through some sort of clorth, add a little salt and herbs of yer choice - bish bash bosh.

A very rough and ready, nay even unsophisticated, approach - but that's me !

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:56 pm
by gregory23b
Made a decent hardish cheese the other week, for home use.

3 pints of whole milk.

30 drops of vegetable rennet (from supermarket

I used greek basil leaves, separated from the stalks, mixed in with the milk.

Warm milk to blood temp, add rennet, stir and allow to curdle.

Have a decent well washed muslin or linen cloth at hand, strain the curds through this.

I then tied and hung the cloth up until it stopped dripping.

It is ready to eat as is, but I formed the cheese using a cookie cutter mould and then stacked the two rounds that were left over,lightly salted them and placed fresh dry cloth under and over it and placed a weighted plate over it, I changed the drying cloths every day, by the end of the week, three pints of milk had turned into a small flat cheese 3/4 of an inch thick. I then let it air dry a bit to form a slight crust. It was hard enough to slice very thinly and add to a pasta dish, I confess to having 'tested' it every day :$

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:53 pm
by sheepmilker
Don't be out off by the apparent high price of presses etc. My better half is master cheesmaker at fifthtown.ca, and I'm the affineur (ripener). We have made hard sheep cheeses for years by just putting them in a colander and pressing (hard) by hand.

If you really need to press the cheese, many people use a plastic bottle filled with water, or just pile the cheeses on top of another. There are also lots of plans online for cantilevered presses that use stones for the weight, they will only cost you some screws and a few bits of wood.

Stuart Peachey has a book on 17th C cheese making that gives you the idea of things that were available then (has period recipes but not "trAnslated" ones"). Suppose we should get around to that one day!

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:14 pm
by Brother Ranulf
You mentioned traditional methods and I'm not sure which period you are into, but certainly for the Norman/Angevin/Plantagenet period many cheeses would have been very small and simply pressed and moulded between the hands. In the Monasteriales Indicia, which is a Late Saxon/early Norman monastic sign list probably used in Egland until the 13th century, the entry for indicating cheese says:

Ðonne ðu cyse habban wille sete ðonne ðine twa hands to gǽdere bralinga swilce ðu wringan wille. [When you want cheese, then put your two hands together flat as if you were pressing it].

Essentially the same sign appears in the Cluny list and later medieval monastic sign lists from Europe and England.

I know from my own experience that this method of making cheese without a mould or press is still used in Germany today to make Handkäse, a sour milk cheese - I thought it has an unpleasant odour and taste but is very popular in Germany as an appetizer or snack.

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:03 am
by TriciaT
I've always wanted to make cheese too. Although my favorite cheeses are probably more difficult to make like blue cheese and goat cheese and brie. Are the smelly or moldy cheeses made from a starting culture of mold?

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:38 am
by sheepmilker
Yes. Nowadays people use freeze dried cultures and moulds to add to the vat. There are lots of suppliers in the UK, Mr. google is your friend! You need three things: culture(s) of bacteria to make acid and give flavour; rennet to set the cheese (depending on the type of cheese) and moulds/bacteria to make bloomy white rinds/blue cheese/washed-rinds.

Of course, historically, the moulds that grew were part of the environment.

Re: Cheesemaking?

Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:49 pm
by FionaDowson
So, does anyone know anything about early Saxon cheesemaking? There were more goat/sheep bones found at West Stow than pig so presumably they must have made cheese.
Does anyone think Anne Hagen's book is worth buying? It seems to be the only one written about Anglo Saxon food