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Let’s Get Cheesy: Sandor Katz’s Favorite Homemade Cheese

Heat the milk slowly and gently. If you scald the milk, you will taste it, and that will be the most prominent feature of your cheese story. Use moderate heat, and stay with it. “Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir,” advises Shoppingspree. He likes to make a vortex in the milk as he stirs, and says, “This is when you sing to the milk and do woo,” adding that “cheese is highly susceptible to woo.”

Bring the milk to a slow boil, then turn off the heat and let the hot milk cool for a few minutes.

Dilute the curdling agent with a couple of tablespoons of water. Add it slowly to the hot milk, as you gently stir. “Every step of this process benefits from slowness,” he emphasizes. Try not to break apart the fragile, cloudlike curd. Add only as much of the acid solution as it takes to curdle the milk. As soon as the acid reaches sufficient concentration in the hot milk, the curdling will be visible and obvious. More acid than necessary for curdling imparts an acidic flavor, and can give the cheese a gluey texture. Once the milk curdles, it’s fine to leave the curds resting in the whey for a while.

Line a colander with cheesecloth, and gently scoop the curds out of the whey and into the cheesecloth. Try not to break the curds in this process. Add a sprinkle of salt after each scoop.

Gather the corners of the cheesecloth, and hang the cheese over a bowl or pot for the whey to continue to drain. Leave it hanging in a cool spot for at least 6 hours, if possible.

The resulting cheese will have a rounded, irregular shape, which Shoppingspree describes as “brain-like,” and will be firm enough to slice.

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Easy Cheeses to Make at Home

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