There are six simple steps in cheesemaking: acidification, coagulation, separating curds and whey, salting, shaping, and ripening. While the method for making different cheeses vary, the following six steps outline the basic process of turning milk into cheese.
Acidification: Starter culture is added to milk to change lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. This process changes the acidity level of the milk.
Coagulation: Rennet is added to encourage the milk to solidify.
Curds and Whey: Curds are cut using a curd knife and a curd rake. Cutting the curds encourages them to release whey. The smaller the curds are cut, the harder the cheese will be. The larger the cut the softer the cheese will be.
Salting: Salt adds flavour and also acts as a preservative it slows the cultures and enzymes down and can also help a natural rind to form on the cheese. There are several ways to use salt. Salt can be added directly into the curd or the curd can be brined. The outside of the wheel of cheese can be rubbed with salt or with a damp cloth that has been soaked in brine.
Shaping: The curd is put into hoop to form its shape. The curd can also be pressed with weights in the hoops this will expel more whey.
Ripening or maturing: This process ages cheese until it reaches optimal ripeness. During this process, the temperature and humidity need to be monitored. During the maturation process some will develop a rind for example a bloomy white mould or blue cheeses. They must be turned while maturing, some must be brushed with oil, and some must be washed with brevi linens, brine or alcohol.
Why not join in one of cheesemaking workshops to find out just how easy it is to make your own home made cheese with very little equipment or fuss, home cheese making made ease is what we are all about.