Happy Cheese Makers Since 1978

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MOOS LETTER from cheesemaking.com


A note from the cheese queen:
It's been 30 years + and the big news here is that we continue to be very busy. Making your own has become quite popular again. (Of course those of us who have been around the block a few times remember when we grew and made our own all the time.) It is not uncommon for me to get calls and hear "I used to make cheese with your supplies with my mother and now I want to make it for my family" oh my, where did the time go? All of our workshops are filling up faster than we can put them online so sign up soon.
Barbara Kingsolvers book 'Animal Vegetable Miracle' has inspired many new faces to try this fun filled art of cheese making at home in the kitchen. You know there is a chapter on cheese making in it! if you have not read it yet, don't wait, it is an important piece of work.
We have been rebuilding our website, making it easier to find what you need, learn more about cheese making and simplify your ordering process. Take a few minutes to look around at the new face of New England Cheese Making Supply Company and enjoy!



squeaky little cheese snacks!

We have had many requests for this recipe, here it is, a comfort food and fun cheesemaking adventure for the family!

Click here for more info


Q. My yogurt never seems to become firm enough. I use raw whole milk and warm it to 80F then add culture (Y5), bottle in quart jars, and place them in a warm cooler for 36 to 48 hours.

A. I do hear from many people who would like to make yogurt from raw milk and still preserve the natural flora by only mildly heating the yogurt. This is not the original yogurt process as it originated and currently practiced at it's source in eastern europe. Milk is heated to 185F and held for 10-20 minutes to take advantage of the whey proteins which help to make it firm. Then cooled to 110F and inoculated with a thermophilic yogurt culture. It then sets from 6-12 hours and Yummm!
Also 80F is on the VERY low side of where thermophilic cultures work (optimum is 108-112F).

Q. I was wondering, is cheese still considered 'raw' after being heated to 102F?

A. Yes, most of the enzymes and nutrients as well as the bacteria in raw milk have a fairly active life between 65 and 102F, any cooler they slow down, any warmer they begin to be damaged. Think about the fact that our body temp is normally 98.6F and the cow or goat's is very close to that.

Q. How does acidity affect the flavor and texture of your cheese? How do I find the "normal acidity levels " to use as a starting point for certain cheeses? Are certain cheeses more sensitive to acid levels - you have to be "closer" in order to get the desired result. Can I increase the amount of starter added to "adjust" the flavor of my cheese? Will this effect acidity?

A. Flavor and texture are a result of the type and amount of culture you use, the quality of milk, and the process timeline in your cheese making but equally important are the aging conditions. Acidity as pH or TA% is one part of the make program for each cheese, too much or too little acid will alter the curds ability to retain calcium and hence the final texture. Also the rate at which acid is produced plays a big role in the final texture, flavor and moisture of the cheese and the way in which it ripens. The best book for this is Paul Kindstedt's 'Artisan Cheesemaking' . Essentially if you do not develop the proper amount of acid in a specific time then the cheese you make will be different than what you planned on making.


Cheesemaking 101

Ricki's Fun for all ages introductory class. A full day of Hands-On Beginners Cheesemaking. Farmhouse Cheddar, Fromage Blanc, Creme Fraiche, Queso Blanco, Mascarpone, Whole Milk & Whey Ricottas and a Quick Mozzarella.

Cheesemaking 201

Jim Wallace has been with us now a number of years teaching and answering our technical questions. Jim is an expert photographer, a great teacher and a wealth of knowledge. You will be delighted with his classes, they are more technical in scope but are fine for the cheesemaker who is starting out to learn more details of the process. They are smaller than our 101 classes which gives you more time for individualized instructions and questions.


We are posting a list of places where you can find Good Milk for cheese making, please click here if you would like to see this information. If you have a source and would like us to add it please send us the information. Include Brand, City, State, Type, and is it Raw to: info@cheesemaking.com


Making a basic cheese press!

From: Butterfly
I have made up a short description of the construction of my homemade Cheese press.
Here is a picture of the final modification and advice. Just so you know, I own my own machine shop and all the welding equipment you would ever want and have made my own metal castings too. However, I chose to make a simple press that most anyone could make.

Metal racks for draining purposes become extremely slippery when wetted with water and butterfat curd fluids, so it is best to use a cheese mat under the mold or perhaps a wash rag could work too. Most people can saw off a board and drive a screw and find some old boards and even some old hinges from discarded items in theirs or the neighbors scrap heap. Many people don't have the skills required to drill accurate holes. A bucket with a bail will do for weight if an empty gallon plastic jug can't be found. A used bathroom scale can be found in a second hand store for just a few dollars or in your own bathroom.
I made my press out of two 2"x10" boards from the base of an old water bed that the neighbors threw away and a scrap 2"x4" for a weighted lever arm, but a wider board might work better for the arm.

The diagonal brace is a piece of 1"x2" pine as are the end stops for it. The scale of the entire press does not matter so long as it works for you. Just make up an assortment of lengths for push sticks with an assortment of wooden shims, and a board for the mold follower that will give uniform pressure so as not to distort it. The lever arm on the one shown is marked off in inches to give you an idea of the size of the press.

The Cheese being pressed in the attached picture is a 5 1/4 pound Cheddar with 40 pounds of weight. Just get the whole thing set up and set the mold with an cookie sheet under it and the curd in it and set the scale to zero "0".

It would be a good idea to shim up one end of the table or the press so as to make the fluid run away from the mold also. Everything added after that is weight and will show on the scale as pressing weight, so just add the desired weight at the desired location on the beam and start pressing. Some attention must be paid to getting the push stick correctly located so as to keep the mold follower from tipping one way or the other. The press folds down for storage and if you want it to be even smaller, Just grind or saw the end of the hinge pin on the lever beam and drive it out with a punch, then file down the pin for a nice slip fit or just replace it with a slightly smaller diameter, Large Nail!

This is a great basic press with all of the elements included
Materials are easy to get, weights are easy to find,includes a scale to determin actual pressing weight
... and folds for storage

Buffalo Mozzarella

Good morning Jim,
Months have passed since I received your advice on how to make buffalo mozzarella in the microwave. You may recall that I am currently living in Brazil and have access to buffalo milk. Your advice seemed to work! Yeah! I'm not sure what part, but today the first time I've tried to make it since receiving your advice it worked. For your information and for future use, this is the recipe I used:

4 liters of water buffalo milk
3 1/2 teaspoons citric acid
1/8 teaspoon liquid rennet

I think the most accurate part of your advice was to increase the temperature. I didn't pay too much attention to temperature readings but when the curds came together in the pan, I removed them. Also, I microwaved the cheese for a minute and a half during each session. It worked!

I do have one more question. Why is it that the appearance of the cheese changes as it cools? It seems to take on a greenish-grey hue on the parts exposed to the air. Nothing too drastic or ugly, but certainly not that beautiful white mass that I start with. The taste remains unaffected. (This is the curd reacting with oxygen in cows milk I see a darkening or deeper yellow effect.)

Thanks for your help, and I will try to send some photos of the buffalo, the farm, and the cheese making process.

Scott Matzen

Himalayan Cheese Making

From: Joy Schulenburg
Rewalsar, H.P., India

Thanks! This stuff all has to get shipped together via my daughter to my home here in the Indian Himalayas (near the Tibetan border -we work with mountain tribes and Tibetan refugees up here) so having things all show up at the same time is important.

And it would be dumb to run out of rennet - there is absolutely no way to obtain any up here without going the kid's stomach routine and, because most folks are Buddhist, we don't eat kids, only older animals so that would be really tricky!

Where I am at, EVERYTHING is local and homemade. In fact, people have very strong beliefs about local and homemade. We get warned not to drink too much of the milk that is sent up here in boxes (and is ultrapasturized to stay sterile on the shelf) because it is "dead" - which of course it is. But the same is true of everything here - veggies as well. If it came from more than 30 kilometers away, it is probably "dead" by the time you eat it. The local wisdom is that 5 km is optimal.

So where we get our milk? Usually it's from our landlord's cow who lives on the other side of the road. She gets all of our vegetable peelings, fruit rinds and peels and other organic scraps to eat and, in return, gives us wonderful rich milk. Some of it goes into our coffee and tea, but most of it becomes homemade yoghurt and paneer and the whey from the paneer goes into the bread I bake from wheat harvested in the next valley. Herbed yoghurt cheese is wonderful smeared on homemade bread!

We also, as the local emergency medics, get gifts of milk and cheese from our friends and patients. Nobody would ever think of showing up empty-handed and often what they have is milk - very frequently in a recycled soda or water bottle. The Tibetans, particularly the nuns and the monks who live in the caves at the top of our mountain, are as likely to turn up with either yoghurt or the very hard pellets of churra, the Tibetan travelers cheese.

It keeps literally for centuries! The Tibetan's yoghurt is thicker and sweeter than the Indian villager's thin tart yoghurt here and I prefer to use it as starter. That's why I like to have a bunch of your starters to hand though - if I don't have any Tibetan style yoghurt or yoghurt that originated from yours - I'll use the powder to start a new generation. The Indians mostly use the thinner, tarter yoghurt for cooking and it's fine for sauces, but not as good for eating or making Tibetan food.

We have thousands of sheep and goats troop by our house each week en route to other pastures. I'm still trying to find a shepherd willing to sell me some milk - much of it is a language problem as they speak some dialect that is only a vague cousin to either Tibetan or Hindi which is spoken in the village. I'd really like to get some goat's milk and make Gjetost, my favourite cheese, as well as a good feta, another favourite. However, right now, I'm happy with what I am producing as better than the alternative which is no cheese whatsoever. A friend came by with 2 gallons of fresh buttermilk the other day so we now have a nice pot of buttermilk cheese (from your recipe!)

Whoops, this was supposed to be a thanks for trying and reply to your footer and it's turned into a cultural dissertation! Basically what I was trying to say is: Unfortunately, I don't think my cow across the road and the nuns up top are much of a source for your books as it's erratic and a little far.
Would you ever be interested in the recipe for Tibetan cheeses? Churra, for sure, is a hardened buttermilk cheese and there are a fresh cheese and a blue cheese as well which are way less common. I've made the churra once myself, but since others make it in huge batches, I rarely have a need - I get kilos as gifts at the holidays. There's also a Yak cheese (actually Dzo - Yak is the word for a bull) made even farther up in these mountains and in the mountains above Kathmandu, that's really nice - flavour that varies from something like a Gruyere to more like an long-aged Gouda, depending on the batch and the aging. I'm trying to find the recipe for that, but I hear it's made up in Ladakh and I plan to visit there next summer.
Thanks for all you do for us cheese-lovers. May you prosper and all your microorganisms be beneficent!

Tha American Cheese Society celebrated their 25th Anniversary this year, a lot of fun was had by all. Next summer it will be in Texas. (www.cheesesociety.org)

If you like to travel in February, check out what Sheana Davis is doing with her 7th Annual Cheese Conference there. (www.sheanadavis.com)

We are very excited about our Newsletters and encourage input from our readers. If you would like to share about your cheese making or have something you would like included in a future issue please send it along with any pictures you might have to Ricki

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