Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DIY Cheese!

This post is a bit wordy, but please bare with me. Lately I have had several people ask about how I make cheese. Making your own soft Ricotta type cheese is so very simple.  My son has severe "dairy" issues and so we have turned to goats milk as an alternative. You can use these same steps with cows milk. Here is how I make cheese....

-You will need a quart of milk. Steer clear of low fat and skim, you want the fat in the milk to make cheese.
 -3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. You can use bottled lemon juice, but I find the freshly squeezed lemon juice yields bigger curds, and that is what we are shooting for.
-A wooden spoon
-A candy thermometer, or pictured is our alternative. We use a meat thermometer that is slid through a slotted spaghetti spoon to make a longer handle so we don't burn our fingers.
-Several layers of Cheese cloth or... We use a 32"x32" piece of bed sheet. The cheese cloth you by at stores these days is sub-par and you will loose a lot of your curds even if you layer it. You can also buy fancy cheese making cloths, but this was much easier for us, not to mention inexpensive.
-A tall pot or bowl
-And a medium sized pot
In a medium sized pan bring one quart of milk to 180° 
Using a wooden spoon, stir often so the milk does not scorch. 
While the milk is heating wet your cloth down and place it over a bowl. The wetness will help hold the cloth in place and will also make it easier to scrape all of your cheese out afterwards. 
When the milk reaches 180° remove it from the heat and immediately pour in 3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
The cheese will curd up within 20 to 30 seconds. 
Now to seperate the curds from the whey.
Slowly spoon all the liquid on top of the cloth. Resist the urge to pour the curds. Pouring will cause you to loose curds.
The curds are pictured in the spoon above. That is going to become your cheese.
This is what the whey looks like. It is a yellowish, mostly clear, liquid. Don't throw it out. It's full or proteins and is great for soups and smoothies. You can even freeze it until you are ready to use it.
When all the liquid has been transferred onto the cloth tie the cloth over your wooden spoon handle and hang the cloth above the pot to drip for 1 hour.
After an hour open your cloth up and enjoy yummy soft cheese. It is very soft at this stage and while some people will tell you not to do this, you can squeeze out some extra whey so it is not so moist. It will firm up slightly in the refrigerator. If you want, this is also a good time to fold in any herbs, seasonings, and even honey. Mmmm
One quart of goats milk makes roughly one tennis ball size of of cheese (sorry, I've never thought to weigh it, but will update the next time I make cheese). It will keep nicely refrigerated for about a week (it might last longer than that, but we usually eat it all before then). 
One of our favorite meals to use this cheese in is gluten free pizza with fresh basil and tomatoes (I keep forgetting to get Kalamata) olives. Panda loves this meal.
And there you have it. That is how my family makes cheese.
Be well, and Shine on!


  1. Thank you thank you!!! My son is intolerant to lactose. We are just now introducing plant based alternatives and had just talked about trying goat milk soon. This is simply wonderful!

  2. We have not narrowed down exactly what it is he is allergic to and the Dr. does not want to test him till he is older, but we suspect it is the lactose. We had to slowly ween him into the goats milk, and it's not advised to give it to babies under a year, but it's great if you can use it. Email me if you have any questions. I would be more than happy to answer any questions. :)

  3. We have introduced lactose free formula to last until 1 year, but we have been slowly slipping a few ounces of oat, quinoa, soy and hemp milks mixed in. I can still slip little bits of my breast milk, but if I go over 3-4 oz a day, he'll have runny poos. They haven't tested here either. They say there is no point until they are 2. Thank you! I may just have to pick your brain! I'm planning on trying goat yogurt and making your goat cheese. :-)

  4. We have just started making cheese at home too! Totally fun and satisfying to make something that we have always bought before.

    1. Congratulations Zoe. It is relaxing and rewarding isn't it? One of my favorite weekly moments)