- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Is home cheese making difficult?
The home cheese making hobby is not difficult to learn. If you take it step-by-step and make small batches in the beginning, you will learn the little tricks of the trade faster. Carefully reading and understanding the instructions is important. If you need assistant, call or write me and if I can't answer your question, I'll do some research and contact you back. Even making gourmet cheeses like Camembert/Brie and Blue are not difficult if you have the correct information.
How much does it cost to start?
It is not costly to get into home and artisan cheesemaking. Since most people have the simple necessary kitchen tools already, you will need a couple starter cultures, rennet, calcium chloride, cheese cloth, mould to shape and press your cheese. Obtaining a good book is very important. It will not only teach you, but will offer excellent recipes. Cheese making is a learning experience. You will get better with time.
Do you offer cheese making classes or workshops?
Yes. I do offer both three hour and weekend workshops. In the three hour workshop we will make Camembert/Brie style cheese as well as learn much about all aspects of home and artisan cheesemaking. The weekend workshop takes up an entire Saturday making Camembert, Blue, Gouda, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Chevre, Ricotta and Feta. Butter, Yogurt, Creme Fraiche are also made. Take home some of the cheeses you have made while tasting Wisconsin artisan cheeses and California wines. The weekend workshop is the most complete and extensive workshop of its kind. You will go back with a wealth of knowledge, having hands on experience.
What kind of customer service do you offer?
Cheese making is a lifelong learning experience, one which will give you plenty of satisfaction and rewards. It's ok to lean on me for help anytime, via email, text or phone. When writing to me, give as many details of your specific situation or concern so I can accurately give you the best information.
What will I need to make gourmet cheese at home?
Most of the utensils necessary for home cheese make can be found in your kitchen. You will need some kind of warming pot, roaster, double-boiler (anything that is clean and be heated to warm the milk to 90F. The size should be at least 1 ½ gallons (5.67 liters) if you are using one gallon (3.78 liters) of milk; 1 large slotted non-wood spoon is perfect, but a regular large spoon will also work fine; a cake frosting rack or even your oven rack will work well as a draining rack; a long knife, about 8 inches in length; a soup ladle or a measuring cup to scoop off the whey; small measuring spoons; and unscented bleach or other type of sanitizer; and a refrigerator. Many of the above items are offered on my site at the supplies page.
How much cheese does one kit make?
That depends on which cheese kit you purchase. My Camembert/Brie/Blue Cheese Making Standard Kit will produce two Camembert and two Blue cheeses. The Deluxe Kit includes cultures to make nearly 300 Camembert and 300 Blue cheeses. The cultures can be kept in your freezer almost indefinitely. Both the Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit and the Deluxe Soft & Hard Kit are great ways to get started to make lots and lots of cheese.
What ingredients will I have to purchase?
You will need milk to make your cheese. Whole non-homoginized milk is excellent, although skim plus heavy cream will also work.(For example:1 gallon skim milk & 1 pint heavy cream). You can also use farm fresh milk available from your local dairy farmer. Try not to use homogenized milk.
What other supplies will I need?
You probably already have some of the necessary cheese making supplies in your kitchen. You will need some kind of heating pot, slow-cooker or water-bath. A kitchen thermometer, stirring spoon and Calcium Chloride are some items you will need, also available on the supplies and cultures pages.
Approximately how long does the process take?
The first step in the cheese making process will take between 3 and 6 hours, of which most of that time is waiting for the milk to warm, waiting for the cultures to ‘do their thing’ in the milk. So while you’re ‘waiting’, you can attend to other matters and come back for the next step in the process. It’s a lot like cooking, but a bit less labor intensive. After you have your cheeses in the moulds (hoops or tubes), the rest is letting the cheeses age.
Where can I store my cheese as it ages?
For many cheeses, the refrigerator works perfect as your ‘cheese cave’. After you’ve made a few batches of cheese, you may want to go further and invest in an additional freezer/refrigerator and use a special thermostat to keep your ‘cheese cave’ set at a specific cheese aging temperature.
When is it safe to eat my cheese?
This will depend on what cheeses you are making. Cheeses like fresh goat’s cheese, mozzarella and ricotta can be ready to eat the next day. Camembert, Brie and some Blue cheeses are ready to eat in about 30-50 days, while hard cheese usually needs a few months minimum before you want to eat them. Like a good wine, hard cheeses mellow over time.
How long will the cheese last?
For some cheese, especially hard cheeses, they can last more than a year, if you can keep from eating them. Fresh cheeses like Ricotta and Mozzarella can last a week or two in your refrigerator. The same holds true for some Camembert, Brie’s and Blue cheeses.
Do you have any ideas about how to serve my homemade cheese?
There are many ways to use your cheese to create a culinary delight. I’m constantly experimenting and searching recipes to tweak them the way I like. You can even join my Recipe Forum from this web site and have different cheese recipes emailed to you.
Can I purchase additional ingredients if I run out?
I do offer cheese making cultures to make specific cheeses. These cultures are not expensive to purchase. Since you use such a small amount of these cultures per batch, home cheese making is an inexpensive and rewarding hobby.