Homemade rennet cheese

This is my third try with rennet cheese – the second one was a complete disaster.

During my first try I used 4 liters of cow milk bought from the farmer at local market and pasteurized it in around 70-72°C. However as the process of heating it and on my oven and then cooling was taking some time I decided to use next time pasteurized milk from shop 3.2% fat. I knew UHT is useless as due to high temperature lactic bateria  (LAB) dies – and cheese will fail. During my second attempt shop bought milk failed to make thicker consistency. I tried to rescue this but eventually after two days whole stuff was thrown out 🙁

This time I have prepared the following ingredients:

  • 4.5 liters of unpasteurized cow milk from farmer
  • ~0.5 gram of rennet
  • ~0.5 gram of calcium chloride
  • handful of basil
  • salt (for brine)

What is useful in the process:

  • 2 pots
  • cheesecloth
  • thermometer
  • slotted spoon
  • knife
  • colander
  • kid willing to play with cheese 🙂
Pasteurization

It is recommended to pasteurize milk in order to kill microbes and bacteria. Cheese can be made from unpasteurized milk and with some trust to the farmer I will try it one day – but this time I add this extra step.

So pour milk into the pot

Starting pasteurization
Starting pasteurization

Throw thermometer in it and heat up to 72°C

Almost pasteurized...
Almost pasteurized…

After keeping it in high temperature for about 20 seconds I put pot into the sink with cold water and some ice to cool it to around 30°C

Cooling down milk after pasteurization
Cooling down milk after pasteurization

When milk was waiting I have prepared calcium chloride, rennet and basil. Calcium chloride is used to improve milk’s coagulation process and raise level of calcium in the milk. It is harmless especially in amount we use in our cheese production (you can find it as E509 on food ingredients list). Rennet on the other side is enzym produced in some animal’s stomach which separates milk into curds and whey. Basil – you can choose mix of spices of your choice. For the first time it is better to prepare cheese without to taste it and consider changes in future compositions.

1g of rennet in the middle bag
1g of rennet in the middle bag

Warm up the milk to around 38°C. At the same time melt around 0.5 gram of calcium chloride in 25-40 ml of water around 38°C. Pour it into the pot and mix carefully. If you want – add spice like basil now.

Mix it with water
Mix it with water
Add to warm milk
Add to warm milk
(Optional) Add spices of your choice
(Optional) Add spices of your choice

Leave it for around half an hour. During that time melt around 0.5 gram of rennet and mix it with 25ml of 37°C warm water.

Basil, calcium chloride mixed and warmed
Mixed with basil
0.5g of rennet is around half of bag
Around half of bag is 0.5g

After half an hour warm milk up to around 37-38°C and  pour prepared rennet into the milk.

Pour mixed rennet into the milk
Pour mixed rennet into the milk

Mix it carefully and l leave for 20-40 minutes keeping the temperature until crud is created. After a few minutes you can see that process has started

Rennet has started coagulation of the milk
Rennet has started coagulation of the milk

After around 40 minutes curd should be ready to cut. Cut it into square elements around 2 cms big and stir gently. After this leave it for a few minutes.

Cut the curd
Cut the curd
Cut into 2 cms big pieces
Cut into 2 cms big pieces
Cutted curd floating in whey
Cutted curd floating in whey

Prepare cheesecloth and call for help – extra hand maybe useful but not necessary 🙂

Cheesecloth and cheese form
Cheesecloth and cheese form

Now grab the slotted spoon and, maybe with help of cheerful kid, collected cut crud from the pot and put it into prepared cheesecloth.

Collect curd into cheese cloth
Collect curd into cheese cloth

Leave it to drip or use press, so far I simply leave it on the colander. Some say it should stay there for around 24 hours. Personally I press it a little with hands and leave for 12 hours. And do not throw whey – it will be used later.

Leave curd/cheese to drip
Leave curd/cheese to drip
Remaining whey- keep it
Remaining whey- keep it

After 12-24 hours prepare brine from whey:

  • 200 ml of whey
  • 800 ml of cool water
  • 25 g of salt

Mix it and put cheese for another 12-24 hours in place with temperature around 5-15°C.

And cheese is ready :). From 4.5 liters of milk I have got around 900 grams of cheese.

Cheese is ready :)
Cheese is ready 🙂

I was asked a question how this cheese melts on pizza. Picture below shows classic gouda cheese on the left and our homemade cheese on the right:

How it melts comparing to gouda?
How it melts comparing to gouda?

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