Basic Cheesemaking (Part 1) – Easy Soft Cheese

Making soft cheese with lemon juice yields less cheese than making it with rennet, and its texture is slightly different. The more fat in your milk, the more solid matter you produce, and therefore the more cheese. Freshness of the milk matters as well, and the fresher the better. The milk in the video is whole milk with cream at the top, and it’s been in the fridge for a week. Had I used it at the beginning of the week it would have probably yielded a bit more cheese, but even so 1 litre of milk got me 150g of cheese.

To make this kind of easy soft cheese, you’ll need

  • 1 litre whole/full fat milk – the more fat the better, and the fresher the better.
  • 50ml lemon juice (this much lemon juice adds a lemony flavour to your cheese. You can experiment with using less lemon juice if you want your cheese to taste less lemony – try 30ml instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a heavy-bottoms saucepan or pot
  • a thermometer (a jam or chocolate thermometer works well)
  • a slotted spoon to transfer your solids 
  • a cheese mould: a plastic container with many holes poked in it. You can buy this, or make it from something like a yoghurt pot. Poke in more holes than you think you will need, and higher up the sides
  • a bowl and skewers or similar so that you can balance your cheese mould above your bowl to let the liquid drain out
  • if you want to make firmer cheese, a tin of something – use this to weigh down the cheese and make it drain more

How to make soft cheese with lemon juice

1. Pour your milk into your saucepan/pot and stir in your salt.

2. Heat your milk to 30-35C.

3. Take your milk off the heat, and quickly and gently stir in your lemon juice. Cover with a lid – you may also wish to wrap your pot in a towel or tea cosy.

4. Leave for 15 mins.

5. Using your slotted spoon, skim the milk solids into your cheese mould – just lift them out. You may want to tip all the liquid through your mould when you think you’ve removed all the solids.

6. Let your solids drain until your cheese is the kind of texture and firmness you like. If you like firmer cheese, you can weigh it down with a tin of food or any other weight that fits into your mould. You could also drain it through a muslin/cheesecloth and a sieve and press out more liquid that way.

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