Cheese Additives: How They Affect Cheese Making

Cheese Additives: How They Affect Cheese Making

Posted by The CheeseMaker on 3rd Dec 2021

cheese additives

Whether you’re craving something to savor or yearning for something to excite your palate, there is a cheese that’s up to the task. The signature flavors you love are more than just different combinations of milk and aging; they’re made possible with the myriad of ingredients available to cheesemakers. Namely, cheese additives. Specific to cheesemaking, additives can be anything that’s added to a given cheese recipe aside from the milk, molds, and cultures.

Cheese additives are ingredients used to customize cheeses’ flavor, tailor the resulting texture, and keep your cheese delicious for longer. Some cheeses require additives and the rest can be improved or customized with additives.

The beauty of making your own cheese is that you’re able to control every step of the process according to your own tastes and preferences, and that includes the use of cheese additives. With the wide variety of cheese additives available from The CheeseMaker, you’ll find it easy to diversify your cheesemaking abilities. Cheese additives can take your cheese from simply edible to excitably exquisite, so let’s dig deeper and see just what they can do for you.

What are cheese additives?

As we’ve touched on, cheese additives are any ingredient that’s added at any step of the cheesemaking process other than what’s absolutely necessary to create crude cheese. They are primarily used to improve flavor, texture, and longevity. The best cheese additive for you will vary based on the cheese you’re looking to make; be sure to explore your options and let your creativity get the best of you (and your cheese).

Cheese additives for flavor, texture, and presentation

cheese additives presentation

Similar to how you may season or flavor any dish you cook, your cheese can benefit from some additional flavor influences. And, just like how you might reduce a sauce or add cornstarch to achieve the texture you’re looking for, there are cheese additives that can help your cheese with that, too.

Try these for flavor

Herb Blends

Your cheesemaking can benefit from both herbs you’re familiar with cooking with and some you might not yet have had the pleasure to try. With everything from our onion herb blend to our stinging nettle herb blend, there’s a way to excite the cheesemonger in everybody.

Great for: virtually any cheese!
herb blends
Fenugreek/Foenugreek Seeds

These seeds will add a pleasant maple syrup flavor to mild semi-soft and hard cheeses, making for a great way to reimagine the cheeses you know and love.

Great for: gouda, havarti, monterey jack, gruyere

Try our premium Madagascar vanilla beans as a great way to infuse classic vanilla flavors with a premium touch! Plump and full of seeds, these vanilla beans offer fantastic natural flavor.

Great for: yogurt, butter, mascarpone
Spruce Bark

These staps of bark are sure to spruce up your washed rind cheeses with tantalizing flavors of sweet cream, bacon, or even (unsurprisingly) spruce. These bark straps can be used to wrap around soft cheeses as they age.

Great for: brie, camembert, morbier, gruyere
spruce bark
Liquid Smoke

Smoked cheeses are a delightful treat, but sometimes you just don’t have the time, equipment, or patience to cold-smoke your cheese. Our liquid smoke is the perfect solution, making use of natural hickory smoke to liven up any of your cheeses.

Great for: cheddar, gouda, provolone, pepper jack, mozzarella
liquid smoke

Try these for texture & presentation

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is an ingredient that’s used to give cheesemakers greater control over their cheeses’ texture by helping to produce a firmer curd. It can be especially helpful when using reduced-fat milk or when using milk that may have been damaged by high heat.

Great for: virtually any cheese!
calcium chloride
Lipase Powder

This ingredient is used to impart a smooth texture and helps make piquant cheeses. If you’re looking to make a cheese with a pleasant bite and delicate texture, lipase powder is your best bet.

Great for: feta, blue cheese, parmesan, provolone
lipase powder
Tartaric Acid

This additive is essential to making mascarpone, a delightfully creamy cheese with a decadently sweet finish. With tartaric acid, you’ll be well on your way to delicious tiramisu or even cheesecake.

Great for: mascarpone
tartaric acid
Citric Acid

This is one of the few additives that may be more of a necessity than an opportunity depending on the cheese you’re looking to make. Citric acid is added to acidify the milk and coagulate the curds.

Great for: ricotta, mozzarella, paneer, cottage cheese
Natural Annatto Cheese Coloring

This all-natural product is derived from the seeds of the annatto tree and is a great way to add that signature orangish color to your next batch of cheese. Whether you’re making a homemade cheese sauce or a nice sharp cheddar, this cheese coloring can easily step up your cheese presentation.

Great for: cheddar, gouda, mimolette
cheese coloring
Agar Agar Powder

If you’re looking to experiment with vegan cheese, agar agar powder will be a must. This animal-free product is a thickening agent that’s instrumental in giving vegan cheeses textures similar to what’s found in dairy cheeses.

Great for: vegan mozzarella, vegan cheddar, cashew cheese
agar agar powder
Tapioca Starch

Another great additive to add to your arsenal for vegan cheesemaking is tapioca starch! This non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free product is a great way to make vegan cheeses that melt and stretch like their dairy cheese counterparts.

Great for: vegan cheese sauce, vegan mozzarella, meltable vegan cheeses
tapioca starch

Cheese additives for longevity

cheese additives


This naturally derived compound is a great way to inhibit mold growth on cheese without the need for synthetic preservatives. It won’t affect bacterial growth either, so you can let your cultures do their work without having to contend with mold.

Great for: virtually any cheese!

It may not seem like much, but a little natamycin can go a long way towards helping you enjoy your cheese for longer. There are other ways to preserve cheese as well, so be sure to read why cheese goes bad and how you can stop it.

Multi-purpose cheese additives

multipurpose cheese additives

Kosher Non-Iodinized Cheese Salt

While salt is most often used for the sake of flavor, it can be a great way to help preserve your cheese. You can use this salt either within your cheese, as a brine, or even as a protective coating that will draw out moisture as your cheese ages.

Great for: virtually any cheese!
Edible Ash

Though you might not use it for its flavor, edible ash can add a welcome new aesthetic to your cheese and can even help to neutralize the pH on your cheese’s rind to help it through a long aging process (especially when paired with non-iodized salt).

Great for: camembert, brie, morbier, sottocenere, nerina
edible ash
Nutritional Yeast

This ingredient is great for vegan cheesemaking and is beneficial to both flavor and texture for creamy, savory cheeses! Our nutritional yeast is produced by natural fermentation, making it a great addition to any vegan recipe. In addition, it helps to nutritionally fortify your cheese.

Great for: vegan cheese sauces
nutritional yeast

Are cheese additives safe?

In short, yes, especially when you use high-quality additives and natural additives like those found across our online store! What’s more, one of the great things about making your own cheese is that you have full control over the additives you choose.

What’s best for any individual comes down to a person-to-person basis and depends on their unique food sensitivities. Just as some people might be sensitive to lactose or gluten, there may be some additives that don’t work well for everyone. By making your own cheese, you empower yourself with the ability to cater your recipe to any situation.

Cheese additives and you

No matter where you are along the journey to cheesemaking mastery, The CheeseMaker is here to provide you with everything you’ll need to make high-quality cheese. If you’re having trouble figuring out which cheese additives you need to make your favorite cheese, consider one of our pre-configured cheesemaking kits. Whether you’re new to homemade cheese or you’re a certified professional, we implore you to give some of our cheese additives a try and get cheesemaking with The CheeseMaker!