When it comes to home cooking tasks, nothing sounds quite as ‘impossible’ as making cheese. I mean, we all know it comes from milk in some form or another. But how exactly does it turn into the creamy, salty, delicious dairy product we know and love? And if I do tackle the task, how do I avoid sending my family to the hospital?
All kidding aside, the answer isn’t as complex as one might think. In fact, it’s very possible to make cheese at home, as long as you know the basics. We’re going to walk through every seemingly difficult step to this centuries-old process. Along the way, we’ll talk about which varieties are easiest to make for beginners. That way, you’ll have the very best chance at culinary success.
So don’t fret! Let’s start fermenting!
There’s evidence to suggest that humanity’s use of milk goes back as far as 6,000 BCE. But it wasn’t until 2,500 BCE that we discovered the amazing art of coagulation. Modern archeologists have found curd molds in Sumer and other Mesopotamian locales, which indicates that our cheese obsession has been going for quite some time.
Today, people of practically every nationality, ethnicity and culture have adapted this versatile food for their own cooking purposes. The ancient art form doesn’t require too many fancy tools or ingredients. Just a little patience will do the trick. Alright—no more talking. Let’s get fermenting.
Every expert is bound to give a different answer. But among home chefs across the blogosphere, there are a few favorites. Let’s start with a classic Italian variety.
Recipe courtesy of TheKitchn.com
This versatile treat is so good, it seems almost risky to make it for ourselves. Can you imagine treating your spouse or significant other to fresh mozzarella every night of the week? Anyways, incorporating citric acid powder into your heated milk makes making mozzarella simple. The process takes barely twenty minutes and requires a little kneading to get it right. But once you do, there’s no going back.
How should you serve it? Try this Ultimate Mozzarella Sticks recipe from Bon Appetit.
Recipe courtesy of The Spruce Eats
Technically a ‘semi-hard’ cheese, feta is universally beloved in salads and pasta dishes all across America. Sprinkle it freely knowing you can make it at home with a little patience and pressure put to work. To make feta, you need to heat milk, introduce your culture, ripen, cut the curd and combine. There’s a little more to it, including the need for a cheese press. Invest in the right equipment, and this hobby will soon pay off.
How should you serve it? Try this scrumptious Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Feta from Food & Wine.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network
Imagine fresh, creamy deliciousness in just an hour! Fromage Blanc, similar to Chevre cheese, is a perfect variety to get your feet wet. Requiring no heavy lifting or complex sifting, Fromage Blanc is basically a short waiting game. Just prepare your milk, add your chosen culture and allow the concoction to set for half a day. The finished result then ‘hangs’ for a while before it’s ready for plating.
How should you serve it? Try a yummy Fromage Blanc Garlic Dip from Cultures for Health.
Regardless of the type of cheese you are trying to make, there are a series of basic phases you must complete to make it happen. From soft to firm to hard-as-a-rock, keep the following instructions in mind:
Sound like a plan? Check out our other cheesy Made In articles for more tips and tricks!