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CHEESE-MAKING ARTICLES: BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Hygiene is VERY IMPORTANT when making cheese at home. You are allowing bacteria to thrive in the cheese, so make sure it is the right type of bacteria!
 
Wash, rinse and sanitise all equipment before use, including cutting boards, utensils and benches/sinks. Wash hands and equipment with hot, soapy water and rinse well. To sanitise plastic  and/or metal equipment, spray with white vinegar, or combine 1 teaspoon of household chlorine bleach with 4 litres of water.  Submerge clean equipment for 7 seconds then drain before use. Metal equipment (and cheesecloth) can be boiled for 5 minutes to sanitise (don’t boil plastic equipment, they will warp).
 
If you are ever unsure if a piece of equipment is clean and/or sanitised, it is better to do it again! Ensure hands are washed with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Spritzing hands with vinegar before handling cheese directly is also recommended because our hands naturally contain microorganisms that may contaminate our cheese otherwise!
 
Keep milk refrigerated at 4°C (40°F) or lower for only a few days – it’s best to purchase on the day (or collect fresh milk), checking for a long use-by-date to ensure milk is as fresh as possible. The fresher the milk is, the better the flavour, and the higher the yield!
 
Bacteria that would spoil the cheese need the right environment to live and multiply in, so following recipes to ensure milk is heated correctly, acidified properly and stored as directed ensures cheese-making success with every batch! Concentrated salt, lower moisture levels (due to pressing and aging cheeses to dry out further) helps to prevent undesirable bacterial and mould growth in firm cheese varieties, which is why most fresh cheese is only recommended to be stored for 7-10 days in the refrigerator (or frozen for up to 2 months). If fresh or dehydrated fruit and nuts are added, we recommend consuming sooner than this.

Author: Megan Radaich          
Image Credit: Megan Radaich            
Acknowledgement 
Kaya Wanjoo. Food Preserving kaditj kalyakoorl moondang-ak kaaradj midi boodjar-ak nyininy, yakka wer waabiny, Noongar moort. Ngala kaditj baalap kalyakoorl nidja boodjar wer kep kaaradjiny, baalap moorditj nidja yaakiny-ak wer moorditj moort wer kaditj Birdiya wer yeyi.
Hello and Welcome. Food Preserving acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live, work and play, the Nyoongar people. We recognise their connection to the land and local waterways, their resilience and commitment to community and pay our respect to Elders past and present.
 
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