Happy Cheese Makers Since 1978
Price: $39.95
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    If you are a beginner cheese maker this is the set for you!!! With a little effort and a lot of fun, you can make eight varieties of your very own preservative free cheeses: Farmhouse Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Feta, Cottage Cheese, Colby, Parmesan and Ricotta. Start now and make this a family tradition. Our set comes with Ricki's Basic Cheese Making Kit, 1pound of Red Cheese Wax and a Natural Bristle Brush for waxing.

    Basket Mold (M222), Vegetable Rennet Tablets (R4), Mesophilic DS Starter (C101), Thermophilic DS Starter (C201), Dairy Thermometer, 1/2oz. Calcium Chloride (C14), 1 yd Re-usable Cheesecloth (U1), Recipe Booklet, Red Cheese Wax (RW1), Natural Bristle Brush (BR12)  

    STORAGE: Rennet tablets, mesophilic culture and thermophilic culture should be stored in the freezer. Rennet tablets will last up to 5 years and cultures will keep up to two years if stored properly. Calcium chloride should be stored tightly sealed in a cool, dark place.

    This Deluxe cheese making set contains Ricki's Basic Cheese Making Kit, 1pound of Red Wax and a Natural Bristle Brush, everything you need to make a variety of delicious cheeses. (Farmhouse Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Cottage Cheese, Gouda, Parmesan and Feta)

    When you buy this all in 
    a kit you are saving



    • Why Wax?
      Waxing is perhaps the most convenient way to protect the cheese during aging and keep the cheese moisture in the desired range.
    • Can I save time using wax?
      Yes, if done properly the cheese will be much easier to keep mold free after waxing and the moisture loss will be reduced. Very little needs to be done to a waxed cheese other than maintaining the proper temperature/moisture levels and turning it over on the shelf every week or so. Less time brushing, rubbing and turning cheese.
    • What about mold?
      If the mold is removed prior to waxing and the waxing is done properly, mold development under the wax will not be a problem.
    • The right wax temperature?
      As explained below, the wax temperature really needs to reach 224-236F (Please see wax temperature warning below) then held in the wax for at least 6 seconds to "flash" the mold spores. However, some folks do choose to take the safer route and use wax melted in a water bath (as described in Ricki's book) and have great results with that. See below for more details on the two methods.
    • Which Wax to use?
      This is a frequent question here. Our cheese wax is a special microcrystalline wax that will resist cracking and hold up to the daily bumps and bruises of aging cheese. The color of the wax makes no difference, but our "yellow" wax contains no colorant. Paraffin is much too soft and will readily crack during aging, allowing molds to enter and grow on the cheese surface. Bees wax is nice but does not have the strength to survive aging unless handled carefully.

    Click on any image for a closer view
    Clean the Cheese before waxing
    Once the cheese is formed and pressed, it will need to dry off for a few days at a cool temp with good circulation.
    A loose pice of cheesecloth laid over the cheese should keep dust and debris off the cheese but mold may develop as seen here after a week.
    Before the cheese can be waxed, the mold needs to be removed. This can be done with a brine wash or vinegar wash. Both high acid and high salt will discourage mold from growing. I prefer the brine wash with ~ 1 tsp salt to a cup of cool water. As you can see in the photos, the mold wipes away easily. Photo at left shows the clean cheese ready for waxing.
    The cheese will dry and be ready for waxing in an hour or two.

    Waxing at lower (safer) temperature

    We begin here by heating the wax in a pan of water on the stove. This will work if you work quickly and have a very clean cheese surface, but many of our customers do come to us with questions on mold developing under the wax, when it is done this way.
    This is the safest method (especially with small children around).

    Using this method, the wax will never reach much more than 198-204F since boiling water can only reach 212F and some heat is lost in transfer. This may not be enough to kill the mold spores if they find their way to the cheese surface.

    Once the wax is hot, you may begin applying wax with a brush. It is a good idea to put a piece of aluminum foil down to catch the drips between wax pot and cheese. The key here is to work quickly and use plenty of wax on the brush to get a good cover coat. Do not over brush. Do the top surface and as much of one side as you can get, then allow this to harden before doing the remaining cheese surface. Give it at least a second coat to make sure a good protective layer is created.

    This method will allow a smaller quantity of wax to be used since only a container large enough to dip the brush in is needed. It is, however, a bit messier since the brush is difficult to clean.

    Cleaning the Brush:
    Immediately after waxing scrape brush accumulation of wax on the edge of the melting pot and while still very hot wipe as much wax from brush as possible with rags or paper towels. Discard these papers/rags when done. The brush will still be stiff but can be easily softened in hot wax for next waxing.

    Store the wax covered and the brush in a bag to keep dust out between waxings.

    Pros: This method usually requires less wax to be heated (just enough to dip the brush and coat the cheese) and it is safer since the wax is never heated to a dangerous temperature.

    Cons: The temperature is not hot enough to kill the mold spores and mold may develop under the wax. If the cheese is dried in a clean environment covered with a sanitized dry cloth this may not be a problem.

    Waxing at a higher temp
    While the cheese dries you can begin heating the wax.
    Please look at our CAUTION STATEMENT below on direct heating of wax on the stove.

    In the pictures above I have heated my wax to 224-236F. At this temperature the wax is extremely hot and remember, it is not like boiling water since it is much hotter and the wax will stick and retain that heat. Work cautiously and make sure you have a good grip on the cheese before dipping.

    The first thing to do after heating the wax is to turn the burner off and place a piece of foil on the stove or work surface to catch the drips (MUCH easier to clean up). Dip the top of the cheese, let that cool, then dip the bottom. Once these surfaces are cool rotate one half of the cheese edge in the wax, let that cool, and then wax the other half.

    I always do a double dip when waxing - dip - cool - dip again.

    When finished, simply allow the wax to cool and then store it covered on the shelf to keep dust out.

    Pros: This method will kill the mold spores on the cheese surface so that you should have little trouble with mold growing under the wax. Also, there is no messy brush to clean.

    Cons: You MUST use CAUTION when heating wax directly on the burner. This also uses more wax then the first method since the entire cheese surface needs to be dipped into the wax.

    In the Cave

    Once waxed, the cheese can be stored in your aging area, but the proper temperature and moisture levels (usually 52-56F and 85% moisture) need to be maintained.

    You should continue to turn the cheese weekly and check for any mold growing under the wax.

    What to do if mold develops under the wax

    If you find mold has started to grow on a waxed cheese, either the surface was not heated hot enough during the waxing

    Overall Customer Rating of 4 Reviews:

    What a great way to start

    I found this kit at my local specialty grocery store and purchased it on a whim. I made a couple mistakes with my first batch, but it was smooth sailing from there. It's like kitchen alchemy. I'm hooked!


    Thermometer And Bristle Brush Recieved Not As Pictured

    Ok, again I am new to cheesemeking. I ordered this kit because I wanted to make sure I had some of the items that may be necessary in the process without purchasing them separately. Not to be too picky, however, when I look at a picture and base my purchasing decision on it; I expect it to be exactly the same. The brush I received has blue around the base (Not as pictured). Although this is not crucial I have been trying to eradicate the blue stuff in my life and coordinate to the colors I prefer. Ok, I'll get over it. However, the mini-budget thermometer I received was not the same in the picture either. This was kind of a big deal to me. Although I did not expect a 'top-of-the-line' thermometer, I did expect one like the one shown in the picture. My eyesight is not what it used to be. I received one that is so small of a dial and thin clip that I'm going to have a lot of difficulty seeing it. I just wanted to express my disappointment over this, and warn others about this issue. Otherwise, hopefully the rest will go well when I finally get a chance to attempt the process.

    Fair kit, instructions are missing many details, not worth the money in my opinion

    • learn to make cheese
    • most ingredients are included
    • poor instructions
    • expensive for what is included
    I bought it thinking that being a deluxe kit, it would be pretty dang good. I had moderate expectations, and once I received the kit, I was let down.

    It includes what you see in the picture, that is correct, but I was expecting more quantity. To be perfectly frank, what I see in this kit only seems to be worth $25 at the very most. I realize she has to make a profit, but I expected double the rennet and starter cultures. It feels like a sample pack to me.

    My biggest complaint is the recipe booklet. Honestly I feel like she wrote it in a rush and expects people to know more than a novice. She mentions butter muslin for equipment, but doesn't explain what it is or even give a drawing. There are almost no troubleshooting steps involved. As a perfect example, she mentions to test for a clean break after 45 minutes, if none, use more rennet next time. WAIT! Does that mean my cheese is ruined or keep using it? Can I wait longer? She doesn't answer these questions. I ended up finding a MUCH more detailed procedure, with troubleshooting, on a university web site. It turns out that clean break can happen between 45 minutes to 3 hours, again, she doesn't mention this. Mine took 2 hours. She mentions to use cheese salt, which I have never heard of, and my roommate who is a cook hasn't either. No sample is included. Another BIG complaint is she doesn't mention when and when not to use heat. Only at the beginning she says to warm the milk to 90F, wait 45 minutes, add cultures and rennet, and wait another 45. So... am I supposed to keep the heat on, or turn it off and let it naturally below below 90F?

    There are a handful of other items that are either hidden in the booklet, or missing. I realize if she included everything, it would be huge, but far too many little details are missing. This truly looks like it was just thrown together.

    Are these any positives? Well, I made my first batch yesterday, partially thanks to her kit, but mostly thanks to pictures and detailed instructions on that university web site I mentioned. Buying her kit saved me from having to separately find all of the ingredients, and the cheese mold is nice, if not a little small.

    Bottom line: if you need detailed instructions with good troubleshooting, don't rely on the included booklet. I strongly feel the kit is too small for the price. Get a cheese making book or look for better instructions somewhere else. Would I buy this again? No. Would I recommend it? No.

    Providence, RI

    Making Farmhouse Cheddar

    Let the Cheese Making Commence:

    Although I have dabbled in making soft cheeses (such as mozzarella) in the various hotels and restaurants that I have worked in I have never really had the opportunity to make different types of cheeses, more specifically hard cheese. That's about to change.

    Want to see pictures? http://dstuchel.blogspot.com/2011/08/making-farmhouse-cheddar.html