How to Make Cheese in Your Own Kitchen


cheese making muslin

How to Make Cheese in Your Own Kitchen

Who doesn’t love cheese?! It’s delicious, versatile, and pretty easy to make at home.

In this post, we’ll show you how to make ricotta and mozzarella cheese in your own kitchen. We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, and by the end of it, you’ll be a cheese-making pro!

So let’s get started…

SUPPLIES NEEDED TO MAKE CHEESE AT HOME

The great part of making cheese yourself is you probably have most of the ingredients and tools already. But, in case you don’t, we’ve listed out each component you’ll need for this cheese-making DIY.

Ingredients

  • Citric acid – You’ll need to use just a teaspoon or so per batch of cheese
  • Cheese salt – 1 to 2 teaspoons per cheese, depending on the type of cheese you go with
  • Rennet tablets – You’ll need less than one tablet per cheese
  • A gallon of whole milk – regular pasteurized
  • Chlorine-free drinking water
  • Italian herb blend seasoning (optional)

Tools

Cheese-Making Kit

Additionally, if you want to get everything at once for this tutorial, GROW AND MAKE has a fantastic cheese-making kit that includes all the ingredients, tools, and supplies you need to make mozzarella, ricotta, mascarpone, and more.

MAKING RICOTTA CHEESE AT HOME

Ricotta cheese is a great place to start if you’re new to making cheese since it’s probably the easiest type of cheese you can make at home.

That’s because it doesn’t require any aging or special ingredients.

All you need is milk, an acid like lemon juice or vinegar, and salt. And the process is equally simple and doesn’t require any fancy equipment.

The recipe below will make around 1 ½ lb of ricotta, so we hope you’re hungry.

Ingredients Needed to Make Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 teaspoon of citric acid
  • 1 teaspoon of cheese salt – to taste
  • 1 gallon of milk

Tools Needed to Make Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 large stock pot – at least 5 quart
  • 1 sheet of butter muslin/fine cheesecloth
  • 1 thermometer
  • 1 colander or strainer
  • 1 stirring utensil

Yield: 1 ½ lb of Ricotta

That’s a lotta ricotta – we hope you’re hungry!

How to Make Ricotta Cheese at Home

  1. Measure the citric acid into 1/4 cup of water and stir.
  2. Pour the milk into the pot. Heat the milk to 185°F (do not allow it to boil over). Stir often to prevent scorching.
  3. Pour the citric acid solution into the pot of milk and mix thoroughly.
  4. As soon as the curds and whey separate clearly, turn off the heat. Allow curds to set undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  5. Line a colander with butter muslin (fine cheesecloth), then drain the cheese curds in the colander for 15-30 minutes, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency.

At this point, you can add more salt and any flavorings you’d like… and CONGRATS! You’ve just made ricotta 😉

Told you this one was easy.

The best part is the cheese is ready to eat immediately, however, if you want to store it, you’ll need to cover it and place it in the fridge, and be sure to eat it within a week. It will spoil after 7 days.

If you are a visual learner (like us) check out the video below on how to make ricotta cheese – you can use all the ingredients and tools above while following along.

Making Mozzarella Cheese

Ingredients:

  1. 1 gallon of whole cow’s milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized, regular pasteurized or raw milk are great)
  2. 1 ½ tsp citric acid (included in NHB)
  3. ¼ rennet tablet (included in NHB)
  4. 1/2 cup chlorine free drinking water
  5. 2 tsp cheese salt, to taste (included in NHB)
  6. 1 tsp Italian herb blend, or your choice of herbs (optional)

Ingredients:

  1. Thermometer (included in NHB)
  2. Knife
  3. Microwaveable bowl for microwave stretching method
  4. Large heat-resistant bowl and ladle for hot water stretching method

Yield: 1 ½ lb

Instructions:

STEP 1. Dissolve ¼ rennet tablet into 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water. Stir and set aside. Wrap the remaining pieces of tablet and store in the freezer.

STEP 2. Mix 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid and 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.

STEP 3. Pour the milk into your pot. Pour the citric acid solution in and stir thoroughly. Heat to 90°F at medium heat, stirring occasionally and checking the temperature often. Stay close.

STEP 4. At 90°F slowly stir in the rennet solution with approximately 20 strokes. The milk could already show clear signs of coagulation but it needs to develop further. Take the pot off the heat and cover for 15 minutes.

Note- if you will not use a microwave for Step 6, start to heat a gallon of water separately in a large pot so it’s ready.

STEP 5. Test the curd by making a 2 inch cut. The cut should have sharp lines and clear, yellow whey should fill the cut. If not, let it set for another 30 minutes. If it never sets, switch brands of milk.

If you have a solid curd, i.e. looks like a pot full of solid shiny yogurt, slice it up into roughly one inch cubes (think tic, tac toe grid and then under cut to slice horizontally as well as you can). Move the cubes very gently (cut any large pieces you find) while you continue to heat until the whey reads 110°F for 2-3 minutes (lower the heat to avoid overheating). The curd should have visibly changed. Look for less sharp edges and less slippery curd. Less yogurt, more scrambled eggs. Take the pot off the heat. Skip down to step 6.

If the curd doesn’t look like shiny custard or yogurt but looks like clumps of cheese floating in yellow liquid, you’re still in good shape. Cut, then heat the curd as instructed above. Proceed.

For Microwave stretching method go on to STEP 6.

For Non-Microwave hot water stretching method: Scoop your curd into a flat dish as in Step 6. Pour off any excess whey, flatten the curd gently by pressing with one entire hand (you should see your hand imprint slightly). Let the curd rest at room temp for about 10 minutes while you heat some water as instructed in STEP 7.

Step 6. (Microwave Stretching Method)

Ladle the curds into a large microwaveable bowl. Put on your rubber gloves or use a large spoon for step 8. You just want curds in the bowl so gently hold back the curds while you pour any extra whey back into the pot (don’t press much).

Heat the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.

Gently use a spoon to fold the curds over several times and evenly distribute the heat. Drain off any released whey into the pot.

Microwave for 30 seconds this time. Drain whey again. Add salt (adjust as you like). This is also the time to add herbs. Mix them in by stretching and folding the curd another 10-15 times. Work quickly so you don’t lose too much heat.

Microwave for another 30 seconds. Drain whey again and fold the curd 10-15 times gently- try stretching. It must be 135°F to stretch properly but do not waste time or heat trying to get a temp reading. You may need to fold the curd a few more times. Every batch is different and mozzarella stretching is highly dependent on proper heat.

The curd should ideally get springy and shiny but be patient with this part. It takes practice.

Feel free to heat one more time for 30 seconds if the curd is tearing- it cooled to much to shape. Once you get a nice stretch, move on to Step 8.

STEP 7. (Hot water stretching method) ***This method is more challenging but rewarding and traditional.

For this hot water bath (no microwave) stretching method you will need a gallon of water that is simmering at about 185°F. Leave it on the burner on the lowest setting. It’s ok if it boils- we will temper the curd with leftover whey first.

Split prepared curd into four portions- you will get better with each portion as you practice. If you’ve done this many times, feel free to heat and stretch all curd at one time. Place one portion of the curd in your heat resistant bowl.

Ladle about 1 cup of the warm whey (not hot water yet!) on top of the curd- we are tempering it, i.e. slowly increasing temp.

Now ladle about 1 cup of hot water on the curd, or enough to cover it. Allow the curd to warm for 3 minutes.

Pour off this whey/water combo into the whey pot.

Now, ladle two fresh cups of hot water onto the curd again, making sure it’s covered. Allow it to warm for another 2-3 minutes.

Feel the curd and see if it feels softer and more rubbery than before. Try to press it together gently and fold it a couple of times.

Lift the ball out of the water, fold a couple of times and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per quarter portion or 2 teaspoons for the whole batch of curd. Fold and stretch the curd to blend in the salt (this is when it is very helpful to use light and fast dissolving cheese salt- if you are using other salt, cut quantity by half and fold more).

If the curd cools too much, repeat the previous step with new hot water once or twice. Curd will not stretch if it is not hot enough but we want to avoid overheating as well. This is the craft part that takes patience and practice with mozzarella.

Proceed with shaping as described in Step 8 below.

Repeat heating, stretching and salting on the remaining 3 portions of curd. If temperamental curds just won’t stretch, do not despair. Just fold, salt, and press warm curds into a bowl to shape them that way. Practice, practice! It is better to under-stretch and enjoy a tender farmer’s cheese wheel than to overheat and over handle and end up with a dry rubber ball.

STEP 8. To shape into balls- Take a portion of curd and fold it over itself 3 or 4 times.

Then hold the curd with one hand as you come up from under the stack with the other hand to push it up from below. Use the index finger and thumb of the first hand to make a hole through which to push the stack, then pinch the ball that forms- this is where the name Mozzarella comes from- Mozzare means to cut off in Italian. Repeat. Enjoy the leftover bits now!

Dunk the balls in a bowl of cool water so they don’t flatten. Repeat with all curd. Have fun experimenting with knots and braids if you got a great stretch.

This month we’ve teamed up with an expert in the cheese making field to give you unlimited email support. Please let us know if you have any questions with these types of cheeses!!!

In addition, checkout the other types of cheeses you can make with your supplies:

(In both of these videos, they use vinegar rather than citric acid. You can use either one!)

We hope you have an amazing & delicious time with your new hobby. Let us know how it goes! Get the conversation started by dropping a comment below.

Your friends 🙂 @NewHobbyBox

steve

Hey - I'm Steve, co-founder of New Hobby Box, and hobby enthusiast. A few years back, I felt like I was getting dull when it came to learning new things. That's why I was part of the original crew who set out to challenge ourselves to learn new things. We liked it so much that we decided to take our challenge public - and that's what ultimately started New Hobby Box. I love going against the status quo when it comes to hobbies, I've tried so many things that I would never have thought to do, that ultimately became part of my life. You'll find quite a few of my hobby experiences throughout the site. Happy Hobbying!

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