At the beginning I recommend watching a film about the basics of cheese making and the production of simple rennet cheese:
Can cheeses really be made at home?
Many customers think that homemade cheese-making is just for fun, and hand-made cheeses have no chance to match the store counterparts. Every day we fight to refute this myth. In home conditions (every kitchen), with basic equipment and accessories that can be bought for over a dozen euros in our store, you can make wonderful, tasty cheeses that will be much better than those from the store! Like home brewing or making sausages, cheese-making is a wonderful, satisfying and unusual hobby. Our customers create great cheeses, which cheap, shop cheeses do not grow to heels.
Well, but the cheese must go through the process of ripening...
This is true. Gouda, Parmesan, Swiss and other cheeses - before they develop their taste and smell - they must mature a little. In practice, any basement or attic, or shed... or any other room where the temperature oscillates within 5-17 degrees C is suitable for ripening. Of course - different types of cheese need different temperatures.
We also have an alternative for people living, for example, in an apartment, who do not have this type of room at their disposal. For a large proportion of cheese types, the top shelf of your home fridge is all it takes for the ripening process to be at the right level.
There is also a whole bunch of cheeses that do not have to ripen at all - e.g. simple rennet cheese such as Koryciński, Feta, Mozzarella, Quark and others.
How much milk do you need to make a kilo of cheese?
The approximate conversion factor is 1 kilogram of cheese with 10 liters of milk. In the case of pressed, semi-hard and hard ripening cheeses - about 10 kilograms of cheese can be obtained from 10 liters of milk. For soft, cottage cheese, short-ripening cheeses or those that do not ripen at all - from 10 liters of milk you can get 1.5 kg, or even 2 kg of cheese.
From the remaining whey, you can also get a small amount of whey cheese - for example, the popular ricotta.
The amount of cheese obtained also depends on the quality of the milk (the amount of fat and protein), the experience of the cheese maker, but also on the quality of the rennet - that's why we recommend you always buy it in specialized stores, such as ours.
How long does it take to make cheese?
The production process itself is quite short and pleasant, usually it takes from an hour to several hours (depending on the type of cheese), the whole family can participate in it. The process of turning milk into cheese is amazing, and the kitchen will have a beautiful aroma of fresh, sweet milk. This is a great idea, e.g. for a successful weekend afternoon!Later salting ("swimming" of the cheese in salt solution) and maturing, depending on the type and weight of the cheese, can range from a week to even several years.
I already know how much milk I need ... but what milk, where to get it? Can it be from the store?
Of course, the best is milk straight from the cow. The fresher - the better. It is worth finding a trusted farmer in the countryside who feeds the cows well, cares for their health, and conducts milking in hygienic conditions. This ensures the highest quality of milk.
Cheeses can also be made from store milk, but UHT milk is not suitable. UHT milk can only be used to make yogurt and kefir. Therefore, when buying milk for making cheese in a store, you should choose only milk pasteurized at low temperature, i.e. often referred to as "fresh" by producers - it is usually sold in plastic or glass bottles, in the fridge, it has a fairly short shelf life.
Warning! In such milk from the store, calcium decreases during pasteurization. Calcium is necessary for rennet to work well. For this reason, when using milk from a shop for cheese production, you should always supplement calcium loss by adding calcium chloride - it is a natural calcium salt, completely safe and healthy. Available in our store.
What is this rennet, what else do you need to make cheese?
Natural rennet is enzymes selected from calf stomachs that coagulate milk protein (casein). Rennet can also be obtained from specially selected and grown in laboratories microorganisms (fungi) - this rennet is commonly called microbiological or vegetarian.The most convenient to use is liquid rennet (we sell bottles with a dropper, so just add drops in the amount according to the dosage indicated on the label).
Rennet is the basis. It is a universal enzyme, so regardless of the cheese we plan to make - the rennet will always be the same.
Depending on the planned cheese, we will also need various other tools and additions. The basis is a thermometer, because the milk temperature at individual stages of production is very important. A large pot will also be useful. In addition, you will also need a cheese mold, cheese cloth and for most cheeses - also starter cultures. This is the basis. Depending on the cheese, you may also need other accessories and additions - for example, for Gouda cheese, wax (paraffin) for coating, for Parmesan cheese - lipase, which is a natural enzyme that sharpens the taste of cheese, etc.
And what are bacterial starter cultures?
Starter cultures are selected mixtures of bacterial strains that, through their work, give the cheese a characteristic taste, aroma, appearance, color ... Therefore, cultures should be selected according to the cheese. For example, for Gouda we have the MSE culture, for Parmesan - PG, for Mozzarella - M, for feta cheese - MFC, etc. ... All these cheeses differ significantly from each other, so different bacteria will be used to produce them. In our store, next to each starter culture, to facilitate selection, the names of the cheeses to which it is used are given. For the production of yogurt and kefir, slightly different cultures are available, which you will also find in our store. If you have questions or problems with the selection of a starter - we are here to help.
Okay - I already know a lot, but specifically - what should I buy?
Depending on the type of cheese you want to make first, you'll need different additions and accessories. However, there are a few things that are necessary when brewing almost any cheese.
A good idea to start the adventure with homemade cheeses are starter kits available in our store.
The above informations are intended for beginners, so we do not thoroughly describe here the subject from the dairy technology side - microbiology, biochemical processes, etc.
However, we encourage everyone to explore their knowledge!
If you have any questions or problems - we will help you.