SOFT CHEESE INGREDIENTS

MILK – COW, GOAT & SHEEP
You can use farm-fresh or store bought milk – farm fresh milk must be pasteurised at home prior to commencing cheese-making, store bought milk (pasteurised and/or homogenised, NOT UHT) is ready for use in the recipe. Use the freshest milk possible (i.e. check for the oldest best before date or buy from the back of the shelf from the store). The higher the butterfat content, the higher the yield of cheese you will make. You can expect around 650-900g (1 ½ - 2lb) of soft cheese made from 4 litres (gallon) of milk. Warm milk is an ideal environment for bad bacteria, so ensure utensils are sterilised before making cheese at home.
Megan's Tip: We use Ferguson Valley full cream milk at home and at classes to make cheese. This milk is available from Spud Shed (Western Australia).\
  • Raw, farm-fresh milk: must be pasteurised at home before making into cheese. Heat milk in a pot, over a larger pot of boiling water. Heat milk to 63°C and hold at this temperature for 30 minutes to pasteurise. Then cool to the cheese recipe temperature and begin the recipe.
  • Pasteurised milk: is heated to 161°F for 20 seconds then cooled to 39°F for storage. Pasteurised milk produces good quality cheese.
  • Homogenised milk: milk is treated to prevent the cream separating from the milk (most store bought milk is homogenised). Sheep and goat milk is naturally homogenised. Homogenised milk is ideal for cheese-making.
  • Ultra-high temperature treatment milk (UHT): is heated to 275°F or higher for 1 second. It does not set curds so is not ideal for cheese-making – perfect for simple Greek-style yoghurt-making though!
  • Powdered milk: can be used to make cheese – the yield would be a lower quantity, and a lower quality cheese.

STARTER CULTURE
Powdered cheese cultures that contain live “good” bacteria that acidify the milk and help develop the flavour of the cheese. Soft cheeses use mesophilic (room temperature) bacteria cultures: they like an environment around 25-35°C to flourish. These powdered cultures need to be stored in a labelled container in the back of your freezer. Mini measuring spoons are handy for measuring the small amount of cheese culture required.
MESOPHILIC CULTURE MO30 – for hard cheese-making
MESOPHILIC CULTURE MO36 – for soft cheese-making

CALCIUM CHLORIDE - available from our online store
Calcium chloride is a liquid that helps coagulate the milk: to collect the protein and fat in the milk and form a curd. It is added at the beginning with the milk (before you add culture or rennet). If you are using fresh, farm milk that you have pasteurised, you will not need to add calcium chloride as the cold storage of store bought pasteurised milk is what prevents store bought milk from coagulating during the cheese-making process. Adding calcium chloride helps the rennet to coagulate the milk, resulting in a higher cheese quantity.

RENNET
Rennet is available in powdered tablet form, or liquid form. Rennet is an enzyme used to clot, or curdle the milk, which separates the milk into curds (solids) and whey (liquid). We find the liquid rennet gives a more consistent result when making cheese – liquid rennet needs to be mixed with ¼ cup filtered water before adding into your recipe. Rennet can be animal or plant based – we prefer to use vegetable rennet. Some cheeses require rennet, whilst others do not, so follow your recipe carefully. Liquid rennet is stored in the refrigerator; powdered rennet tables are stored in the pantry (or freezer for longer storage).

SALT - available from our online store
Cheese salt is a large crystal salt that is suitable for cheese-making, fermenting and pickling. It does not contain iodine nor anti-caking agent (both of which are found in the common table salt, which is not recommended for use in preserving or cheese-making). Cheese salt is larger than normal salt because it takes longer to dissolve on the surface of the cheese – thus drawing out more moisture (whey). It boosts the flavour of your homemade cheeses and extends the storage period of cheese too.

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