I have always wanted to make cheese. But I was always intimidated by it! I don’t know why, though. After doing a lot of research, I’ve found that it’s actually pretty easy. Today I’m going to share my experience with my first time making cheese without rennet.
Traditional cheese making involves using rennet, which is part of a young cow’s stomach. Most of us don’t have access to a young cow’s stomach, so we have to buy it. And that’s not very sustainable, right? Well, you can make a soft cheese without it, using ingredients you likely have in your fridge!
For this edition of the Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I made cheese for the first time. Without using any “special” ingredients!
Of course, since I’ve never made cheese before, I needed a recipe! I was inspired by this YouTube video. Mine didn’t turn out the same as it shows in the video, and I think I know why.
- 6 1/3 cups whole milk
- 6 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
Directions for making cheese without rennet
Put 6 1/3 cups whole milk in a pot. Raw milk is best, but you want at least unpasteurized for best results. Heat over medium heat, stirring very frequently. When the milk reaches 111-120 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from heat. Immediately add 6 tablespoons white vinegar. Stir 4-5 times, dragging the spatula from the side of the pot to the center. Collect the curds together by pressing them with a spatula to the side of the pot. Take the curds out of the liquid and put in a strainer. Squeeze the cheese to get most of the extra whey out of it.
Put the heat back on the whey and heat it until it’s almost boiling, then stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Put the cheese ball in the whey for 5-8 seconds, then take it out and squeeze the extra whey out again. Repeat 3 times, until the cheese is soft and elastic. On the 3rd dunk, squeeze the cheese really hard to get all the whey out of it. Then form the cheese into a ball, and put the ball into a bowl of ice water for 2-3 minutes.
Use the cheese right away, or wrap the cheese in plastic wrap and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
What went wrong with my cheese?
My cheese turned out more crumbly than I had hoped. I was thinking it would be like mozzarella, stretchy and gooey. Instead, the cheese that I made was more like the texture of cottage cheese without the liquid. It still tastes like cheese, and would be an acceptable substitute for feta cheese, but I definitely won’t be able to grate it.
I think the reason mine didn’t turn out the same way as in the video I linked to above, was because I used pasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk has already been heated, and it affects the way the milk will curd in the future. When I do this again, I will be sure to try to find unpasteurized milk!
Raw milk would actually be the best, but I don’t have an easy source of raw milk anymore, since we sold our milk cow. I might just have to source some from a local farmer instead.
Here is the video of me making cheese without rennet, for the first time:
Are you going to try to make your own cheese?
This homemade cheese was so easy, and it would be so nice to have fresh cheese in the fridge all the time. Are you going to try to make your own homemade cheese?
Homemade cheese is easily customizable, you can add herbs and spices to make it any kind of cheese you want. You’ve gotta try it!