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Dairy Farming Manual

Volume 1

Technology Unit 10.3
Small Scale Cheese Making

page 221

 Technology Unit 10.3: 


Technical Notes 

Note: These technical notes are not indexed to illustrations numbers.  They are taken from:

RIT Lampang
24th - 28th October 1989


General introduction

The changing of milk into cheese generally goes through four stages:

1. Coagulation: physical and chemical changes in the casein micelles (protein) due to the action of proteolytic enzymes and/or lactic acid leading to the formation of a protein network.

2. Drainage: separation of the whey after mechanical cutting and agitation of the coagulum followed by moulding and, depending on the kind of cheese, pressing.  By this means, cheese is obtained.

3. Salting: incorporation of salt by dry salting on the surface or within the body of the cheese, or by immersion in brine (salt water).

4. Ripening: biochemical changes in the cheese brought about by mainly bacterial enzymes.


Milk contains two different groups of proteins.  These are:

-  the casein complex (75-80 % of total protein);
-  the whey proteins (20-25 % of total protein).

It is the casein that coagulates when making cheese.

The components in milk are present in different physical states such as true solution, colloidal dispersion or emulsion.

page 223

Extension Materials
What should you know about cheese?
1 What is important in cheese making?(5-50)

There are different
- textures 
- ways of ripening 
- compositions. 

2 How can you make fresh cheese?

By taking good quality milk and: 
- cooking 
- renneting 
- straining. 

3 How can you make semi-hard cheese? (87-131)

By taking fresh cheese and: 
- pressing 
- ripening. 

4 What defects are there in cheese? (132-136)

There are defects of: 
- flavour 
- texture 
- appearance. 

page 224

A component in colloidal dispersion will precipitate if the factors which make it disperse are changed (hydration, ionization (net charge)) (casein). 

A component which is present as an emulsion will precipitate or rise to the surface by the force of gravity if left to stand (milk fat). 

The casein is present in the milk as small micelles.  The outsides of these micelles have a large excess of negative charge.  The effect of this is that the micelles repel each other.  Thereby avoiding aggregation ---> sedimentation. 

 Figure 1: Structure of the casein micelle 

The casein micelles also bind a lot of water (hydration).  This bound water protects the micelles against aggregation. 

In order to coagulate the milk (casein) it is necessary to destabilize the casein dispersion.  This can be done by acid or enzyme. 

Acid coagulation:  By adding acid (H+) to the milk, pH is lowered and the ionization is reduced.  When so much acid has been added that there is a neutral charge on the micelles (- and + equals), (isoelectric pH = 4.2) and the hydration is significantly reduced, a coagulum will form.  This reaction depends very much on temperature.  At higher temperatures the coagulum will form at a higher pH (less acid). 

page 225

 What is cheese?
5 Cheese is the solid part of milk:  curds separated by chemical reaction from the liquid part of milk: whey.
6 You can make the curds separate from the whey by adding acid, bacteria culture and/or rennet (starter).

 7 This causes the milk protein,casein, to curdle.
8 Acid or starter culture produce a soft curd which breaks up easily.

Rennet produces a firm and elasticcurd

 page 226


    Figure 2: Changes in micelle structure in the course of acidification 

Enzyme (rennet) coagulation:  the coagulation of milk by the action of rennet occurs in two stages (phases). 

Primary phase: Also called the enzymatic phase.  The enzyme attacks the stabilizing components of the micelles.  A piece of the casein which has a strong negative charge is cut off and hydrophobic (water rejecting) bonds between the casein micelles can be established.  The enzymatic phase is in particular influenced by temperature, pH and amount of enzyme.  The optimum temperature for rennet enzyme is 40 - 42 C but usually a temperature of around 30-32 C is used because of other factors which will be explained later.  The effect of pH can be seen from Figure 3 below. 

    Figure 3: Effect of pH on the firming rate and the maximum firmness of rennet coagulum

Secondary phase: Also called the coagulation phase.  The aggregation of changed casein micelles (para-casein) takes place.  The presence of Ca++ and to some extend Mg++ plays an important role in this reaction.  The positive calcium and magnesium ions (cations) helps in neutralizing the negative charges on the casein.  For this reason additional calcium is sometimes added to cheese milk, to increase velocity of coagulation and to get a firmer coagulum.  It is usually added in the form of calcium chloride (CaCl2). 

The total time for the primary and secondary phase is from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the factors mentioned. 

page 227

 What do you need to make cheese?
Good quality milk

9 You need good quality milk with few bacteria.

Cheese made from milk with high bacteria content has a bad flavour.

10 Use milk from healthy cows.

Do not use milk from cows with mastitis or other diseases.

11 Do not use milk which contains antibiotics.
12 Do not use colostrum.

It turns into curd on heating  and the curd is too soft.

 page 228

Drainage:Some time after the addition of starter culture and rennet fine droplets of water (whey) are observed on the surface of the milk (curd).  The droplets grow larger and eventually they join together and form a liquid envelope around the coagulum.  At the same time the coagulum decreases in volume.  This process is called SYNERESIS

By CUTTING the coagulum into smaller pieces the total surface becomes much bigger and the expulsion of whey (syneresis) increases.  In order to control the drainage it is very important to cut the coagulum in equal-sized cubes. 

This can only be done by using a proper sharp instrument and by cutting when the coagulum has reached a proper firmness.  If cutting is done roughly or with poor instruments too many fine curd particles will be the result.  These particles (fines) are lost in the whey resulting in lower cheese yields. 

After cutting, the curd is usually left undisturbed for a while so that more whey comes out thus resulting in firmer cubes which can stand STIRRING.  The stirring is at first done very gently to avoid damage to the cubes.  As the cubes become firmer the stirring can be intensified.  The stirring has two major purposes.  It prevents the cubes from settling and sticking together and it makes the cubes bump into ONE ANOTHER whereby whey is pressed out. 

While stirring the curd is usually cooked (scalded) as well.  The COOKING increases the whey expulsion.  Cooking means heating to a certain temperature, depending on the type of cheese produced.  Two different methods for cooking are possible. 

- direct addition of hot water or steam 
- hot water or steam in the double jacket of the cheese vat. 

When adding hot water direct into the curds, 1/3 of the whey is often removed first.  Apart from raising the temperature, the addition of water will lower the concentration of the dissolved components of the whey and the curd.  A lower lactose content in the curd will result in lower acid production and consequently higher water content in the final cheese. 

Cooking should be done carefully, the temperature should not rise too quickly and it is important that the whey-cheese grain mixture is stirred continuously. 

After cooking stirring is continued for some time to expel more whey. 

When the curd reaches the required firmness (when it is dry enough) it is processed according to the type of cheese to be made. 

This may involve: 

- Forming into cheese-loaves and pressing before salting in brine and ripening i.e. Gouda, Tilsitter 

page 229

13 Make sure you clean and sterilize your milking utensils.

Pasteurization does not destroy all bacteria from dirty utensils.

14 Rinse your utensils thoroughly in clean water.

Cleaning agents and disinfectants in cheese milk kill lactic acid bacteria which are necessary for cheese.

15 Do not use poor quality silage.

This contains some bacteria which pasteurization does not destroy.

16 These bacteria produce butyric acid which gives cheese a bad taste and shape.
page 230

- Ripening curd in the cheese vat, milling, salting, pressing and ripening i.e. Cheddar 
- Ripening the curd in the cheese vat, milling, heating, kneading/stretching, salting, moulding i.e. Mozzarella and other pasta filata cheeses. 


The mother culture to be used for cheese-making is usually a mesophyllic culture.  This means that the bacteria have an optimum growth temperature of about 25-30 C and that they will grow between 10 and 45 C. 

For Mozzarella, however, the same bacteria as for yoghurt are used.  These are thermophilic cultures with an average optimum growth temperature of about 50 C and they will grow between 10 and 80 C.  The two most common strains used are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, both with optimum growth temperatures between 40 and 45 C.  These bacteria are used for Mozzarella because of their fast growth and high acid production. 

The yoghurt culture is usually supplied from the manufacturer as a freeze-dried culture (Lyophilized Culture) or concentrated deep-frozen culture. 

The preparation of yoghurt culture is shown below. 

Figure 4 

 page 231

17 You can test the quality of your cheese milk by:

- tasting
- smelling

bad tastes and smells go to your cheese


- boiling

sour milk or milk with colostrum precipitates.

19 Your milk collecting centre worker can test the quality of your cheese milk by:
- a colour reduction test e.g. methylene blue test which shows the number of bacteria
- an acidity test e.g. pH or titrated acidity test which shows souring and number of bacteria.
page 232

The milk for the starter culture should be heated to 90-95 C for 20-30 minutes.  Then cooled down to 43-45 C before adding the culture, and incubating at 43-45 C in either a water-bath, thermo-box or an electric incubator.  All the procedures should be carried out under hygienic conditions and with sterile equipment.  Stir vigorously before use. 


   Sulphuric Acid: sp. gravity 1.816 +/- 0.003, 20 C. 
   Isoamyl alcohol: sp. gravity 0.811 +/- 0.002, 20 C. 

   Pipette 10.73 ml 
   Pipette for H2SO4 10 ml 
   Pipette for Amyl alcohol l ml 
   Gerber Centrifuge 
   Water-bath 67 C 
   Cloth to hold hot butyrometers 


1. Fill 10 ml sulphuric acid into butyrometer. 

2. Thoroughly mix the milk sample and, using the milk pipette add 10.73 ml milk. 

3. Add 1 ml isoamyl alcohol on top of the milk.  Care must be taken not to get milk, sulphuric acid or alcohol on the neck of the butyrometer, if this is allowed to happen the stopper may slip out. 

4. Push the stopper in the butyrometer. 

5. Shake the butyrometer thoroughly until the milk is dissolved.  Hold the stoppered end up.  Take care!! The butyrometer becomes HOT

6. Holding the bottle by the stopper and neck.  Invert it about 10 times to mix the acid remaining in the bulb with the content. 

7. Adjust the stopper so that the expected fat % can be read. 

8. Centrifuge for 5 minutes. 

9. Immerse the butyrometer in a water-bath at 67 C for 5 to 10 minutes. 

 page 233

Additives to cheese milk

21 You add rennet to milk to coagulate it.

22 You can:
- buy rennet or
- make it yourself.

 23 You can make rennet from the 4th stomach of unweaned calves or pigs which contain the enzyme chymosin.
24 Consult your extension worker about the simple equipment and chemicals you need to make rennet.

page 234


10. Adjust the fat column onto the calibrated section of the tube and read as shown in the figure below.

 Figure 5 


To guarantee the consumer a product of constant fat content and to meet standards, the fat content for milk products should be standardized.  Usually the fat content of raw milk is higher than the required standards.  Manufacturing products with an excess fat content will lead to financial losses.  In small scale operations the cost of standardization (i.e. purchase and maintenance of separator, fat testing equipment etc.) may be higher than the profits especially if the cream cannot be sold. 

Standardization can be undertaken by: 

1. Mixing whole milk with partly or totally skimmed milk. 

2. Mixing skimmed milk with cream. 

3. Separating whole milk to get the required fat content. 

Method 3 requires very sophisticated and expensive equipment so under small scale only methods 1 and 2 are of interest. 

Example 1

Suppose 200 kg of raw milk is available.  The fat test has shown a fat content of 4.5 % fat.  Milk with 3 % fat is required for cheese production.  How much raw milk is it necessary to skim (separate).  In the calculation it will be assumed that all the fat is removed from the skim milk by separation. 

If X     = litres of cream with 32 % fat 
and Y  = litres of milk with 3 % fat 

 page 235

 25 You can also get rennet with enzymes which coagulate milk.
26 Always:
- buy or make small amounts of rennet
- store in a dark, cool place, a refrigerator if possible.
Do not keep for more than 3 months.
Starter (lactic acid bacteria)
27 The starter produces acid which:
- helps when you remove the water from the curd
- helps the rennet coagulate the cheese milk quickly

- makes the cheese soft, rubbery, hard or brittle

 page 236

Example 1 (Continued)

The following equation may be used. 

In the calculation the expression fat unit (fu) means 1 % fat in 1 litre of milk. 

Total fat units = 200 1 x 4.5 % fat   = 900 fu 

I X + Y =  200 
II 32X + 3Y = 900 

Equation I should be multiplied by 32 so that X will be eliminated by subtraction. 

I2  32X + 32Y = 6,400 
II2  32X + 3Y =   900 

Equation II should then be subtracted from Equation I and the following is obtained. 

III  29Y = 5,500 
III2    Y =   189.7 l with 3 % fat 

The Value Y should be inserted in I: 

IV X + 189.7 = 200 
IV2 X  =  10.3 l cream 32 % fat 

Now it only remains to calculate how many litres to skim to get 10.3 l of cream with 32 % fat. 

10.3 l x 32 % = 329.6 fu 

329.6 fu  = 73 litres to be skimmed 
4.5 fu/l 

Control of calculation: 

189.7 l x 3 % fat  = 569.1 fu 
10.3 l x 32 % fat  = 329.6 fu 
     898.7 ~ 900 fu

page 237

- gives the cheese flavour
- prevents the growth of harmful bacteria
- breaks down proteins to help ripening.
32 If you want cheese with eye holes you need to use a special starter.

See T 10.1 Starter Cultures.

page 238

Example 2 

If skim milk is available for mixing with whole milk to obtain standardized milk with a certain fat content the following mixing square may be used. 

Figure 6

The square shows: 

H = fat content of the milk with the highest fat content (e.g. whole milk with 5 % fat) 

L = fat content of the milk with the lowest fat content (e.g. skimmed milk with 0.05 % fat) 

S = fat content of the standardized milk to be produced (e.g. 3 % fat) 

QH = quantity of milk available with highest fat content, that is milk to be standardized 

QL = quantity of milk with lowest fat content; to be mixed with milk with highest fat content 

In the example, H - S = QL = 5 - 3 = 2, and S - L = QH = 3 - 0.05 = 2.95, which means that for every 2.95 kg of whole milk 2 kg of skimmed milk has to be added to obtain standardized milk with 3 % of fat; in this case that is 4.95 kg of standardized milk.

page 239

Calcium chloride
33 You can add calcium chloride to coagulate milk faster.

Add 5-20 g calcium chloride per 100 l milk.

Potassium nitrate

34 You can add potassium nitrate to prevent too much gas in your milk (from coliform or butyric acid bacteria).

Add 10-15 g potassium nitrate per 100 l milk.

How much cheese do you get from milk?

35 10 l of milk makes
1 kg of semi-hard cheese or
2 kg of soft cheese (it contains more whey).

page 240



Approx. 90 % of the fat goes into the cheese. 
Approx. 75 % of the protein goes into the cheese. 
Approx. 0.5 kg of sugar + ash per 100 kg of milk goes into the cheese. 

Calculate the yield from 100 kg of cheese milk with the following composition. 

Fat content                                                = 4.2 % 
Protein content                                          = 3.4 % 

Assumed water percent in cheese               = 40 % 

Fat yields:  100 x 4.2 x 90 %                     = 3.78 kg ~ 33% 

Protein yields: 100 x 3.4 x 75 %                = 2.55 kg ~ 22 % 

Sugar + ash yields:                                    = 0.50 kg ~ 4 % 

Total dry matter                                        = 6.83 kg 

Water yields:  6.83 x 40                            = 4.55 kg ~ 40 % 

                                                               =11.38 kg ~ 60 % 

Kg of milk per kg of cheese  100             = 8.8 kg/kg 

Fat in dry matter  3.78 x 100                    = 55 % = 55+ 

page 241

  What is important in making different types of cheese?
36 Hard cheese - you can slice or grate.

Semi-hard cheese - you can slice.

Soft cheese - you can slice or spread.


37 Fresh cheese

Cheese ripened by bacteria/enzymes

Cheese ripened by mould.

Fat and water content

38 Different cheeses contain different amounts of fat and water.

Type of cheese
% fat
% water
Semi hard 
Very soft
25 - 30 
20 - 35 
20 - 30 
  0 - 35 
35 - 40 
40 - 50 
40 - 60 
50 - 85
page 242


    The titratable acidity test is employed to ascertain if milk contains a large amount of lactic acid which might reduce its heat stability, and thereby its suitability for milk products manufacture. 

    Titratable acidity generally has been presented as the acidity measured by titration with 0.1 N sodium hydroxide, due solely to lactic acid.  This is not really so because what is actually measured is the quantity of alkali necessary to bring the pH of the milk to approximately 8.3 at which point phenolphthalein shows the characteristic pink colour.  Generally, freshly-drawn milk does not contain lactic acid.  Some bacteria which contaminate milk can attack the milk sugar (lactose) and form acids of which the principal is lactic acid.  The indicator substance phenolphthalein is colourless in an acid solution but red in an alkaline solution.  On adding phenolphthalein to milk it remains colourless because the milk is acidic, its inherent acidity being due to its natural constituents particularly the protein and phosphates.  The addition of a solution of an alkali like sodium hydroxide neutralizes the acid and, when a slight excess has been added, the phenolphthalein turns red. 


    1. Pipette 9 ml of the well-mixed sample of milk into a 100 ml Erlenmeyer flask. 

    2. Add 10 drops of 1 percent phenolphthalein solution (prepared by dissolving 1 gm phenolphthalein in 75 ml of 95 % Ethyl alcohol and adding enough distilled water to make total volume 100 ml). 

    3. Fill the burette with the 0.1 N sodium hydroxide solution, run out a portion to ensure that there are no air bubbles in the column, then adjust to a convenient graduation mark, preferably zero. 

    4. While agitating the sample continuously, run the sodium hydroxide solution in slowly from the burette until the first permanent pink colour is obtained.  A permanent very pale pink is the correct endpoint. 

    5. Read off the quantity of alkali used and calculate the amount of titratable acidity as percent lactic acid. 

    Titratable acidity = ml 0.1 M NaOH x 0.009  x   100 =  % lactic acid 
                                                Volume of sample 

    Example: Volume of sample 20 ml 

     ml 0.1 M NaOH = 29 ml 

    Titratable acidity = 29 ml x 0.009 x 100 = 1.3 % lactic acid 
                                                  20 ml 

 page 243

Whey content
39 The amount of whey in the curd affects the

- taste

too much whey makes the curd sour


- keeping quality

too little whey makes it easy for bacteria to attack the curd.
We usually remove more whey from fresh cheese than from cheese for ripening.

  page 244

Essential equipment:

Cheese vat, jacketed 100-200 l 
Curd cutting knife 
Heat source (gas-burner) 
Basin for heating water in 
Basin for heating cheese in water 
Cheese cloth 
Wrapping material 

Optional equipment: pH-meter

Fat testing equipment 
Acidity testing equipment 
Electric incubator 
Vacuum packing machine 


Milk (standardized fat %) 
Yoghurt starter culture 
Rennet (powder or liquid) 
Salt (NaCl) 


1. Raw milk is poured into the cheese vat through a cloth.  The temperature should be > 32 C

2. 1.25 % yoghurt starter is added and the milk is thoroughly stirred.  Leave to stand for 30 minutes. 

3. Add rennet according to instructions from supplier.  Stir milk to ensure equal distribution of rennet.  Leave untouched until a shiny firm coagulum has formed (35-45 minutes).

 page 245

41 Because the composition of milk is not always the same, you must adaptthe recipes.


42 Try out different:

- quantities of rennet or culture
- times for curdling
- temperatures for curdling.

Each time you make cheese, keep records:

                        beginning ......... pressing ........... ripening .........

Quantity of:                                          Quality:
                        milk ..........                                 type ........
                        culture/acid/rennet .........         hardness .........
                        salt ..........                                  taste ........
                        adding culture/acid/rennet .........
                        curdling ..........
                        for curdling .........

Next time you can adapt your recipe and improve your cheese.

  page 246

Procedures: (Continued)

4. Cut the curd into equal sized cubes of 1 to 1.5 cm.  Cut horizontally first, then twice vertically, if cubes are too big cut again vertically.

5. Start heating with low fire and leave to stand for 15 minutes. 

6. Start stirring gently and put on full fire.  Gradually intensify stirring.  Keep on stirring and heating until the temperature is 47 C.  Stop heating and keep on stirring for about 30 minutes. 

7. Stop stirring.  The cheese grains will then sediment on the bottom of the vat.  Remove with a clean bucket as much whey as possible.  Pour the whey through a sieve into a milk churn or another container.  Push cheese grains away from the outlet, insert a sieve in front of the hole and remove remaining whey through outlet. 

8. The cheese grains will stick together within 5 minutes after removal of the whey.  Cut the lot into pieces of approx. 25 x 25 cm and turn them.  Put lid on the vat. 

9. Cut, turn and pile the cheese every 30 minutes for 1 1/2 hours of until pH has reached 5.1 - 5.3.  The cheese should be like boiled chicken meat. 

10. Cut the cheese into ribbons of approx. 25 x 8 cm.  Weigh out 2.2 kg, put them into a basin with holes in the bottom of the side. 

11. Insert basin into another basin containing water at 82 - 85 C.  Leave the cheese there for 10 minutes. 

12. Take basin with cheese out, knead and stretch the cheese vigorously while it is hot.  Add salt (one spoonful per 2 kg) and knead again. 

13. Insert cheese in hot water for short time (1-2 minutes) take it out, shape it and fill it in the mould. 

14. Put mould with cheese into ice-water. 

15. Cool the cheese in the ice-water until it becomes firm, about 1 hour. 

16. Let the surface of the cheese dry before packing. 

17. Put the packed cheese in the freezer or refrigerator.

 page 247

What are the problems of making cheese in the tropics?
43 Hard and semi-hard cheeses require a high quality of milk and a very hygienic method of production.
44 Ripening cheeses requires lower temperatures and higher humidities, than available under normal conditions.
45 Farmers should produce cheese which people like and has a good market (e.g. with a good flavour and smell for consumers).

46 For these reasons, farmers usually produce soft, fresh cheese in the tropics.
 page 248


1. Gary H. Richardson, Ph.D.; Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products, 15th edition. 

2. Jeremija Lj. Rasic, Joseph A. Jurmann; Yoghurt, Fermented Fresh Milk Products, Volume 1. 

3. Egil Waagner Nielsen; Maelkekemi, 1985. 

4. J.C.T. van den Berg; Dairy Technology in the Tropics and Subtropics, 1988. 

5. C.D. Thomson, A. Eck; Cheese Making, Science and Technology. 

6. J.C. Lambert; Village Milk Processing, FAO Animal Production and Health Paper No. 69. 

7. G.H. Wilster, Ph.D.; Practical Cheesemaking, Thirteenth Edition, 1980. 

8. Frank Kosikowski; Cheese and Fermented Milk Foods, Second Edition, 1978.

 page 249

 What are the keeping qualities of cheese?
47 Making cheese from milk is one method of preservation.
48 Fresh and soft cheeses are very perishable and you should eat them within 1-2 days.
49 You can keep them longer by salting heavily.
50 You can keep semi-hard cheeses for 3-4 months.

Cheeses which are ripening should be kept in a cool place at 10-15 C until they are ripe, not in a refrigerator.

 page 250

What is fresh cheese?
51 Fresh cheese is cheese you can eat immediately after making.

It has a high water content (70-80 %) and a fat content of 5-20 %

52 You can keep fresh cheese in a refrigerator (4-6 C) for 1 to 2 weeks.
What equipment do you need to make fresh cheese?
Important: All equipment should be stainless steel and must be clean.
53 A measuring beaker made of glass or stainless steel.

Try not to use plastic as it is difficult to clean and absorbs smells.

54 A cheese vat:
- you can use a pan or a bucket made of stainless steel or aluminium.

Do not use iron or zinc as these can corrode quickly.

  page 251

55 A water bath for indirect heating and cooling of the milk/curd in the cheese vat.
56 A source of heating e.g. gas, wood electricity.

A source of cooling, water.

57 A ladle or long-handled spoon for stirring the milk.

A spoon for measuring the culture.

58 A skimmer for removing curd from the cheese pan.

Knives with long handles or split cane bamboo for cutting the curd.

  page 252

59 You can also use a square frame with wires about 15 mm apart for cutting the curd.
60 A thermometer with a maximum temperature of 100 C for measuring the temperature of the heated milk.

A thermometer for measuring outside temperature for making culture and ripening cheese.

61 A cheese cloth made of fine cotton for draining off the curd.

It should measure about 45 x 60 cm and you should use it folded double.

A bucket for collecting the whey.

Clothes pegs for holding the cloth over the bucket.

62 A sieve or colander made of stainless steel or plastic for draining the curd.

Wooden draining board on which to place the cheese mould while it drains.

  page 253

How can you make fresh cheese?
63 Prepare your equipment and collect the materials you need:
- milk
- starter culture
- rennet
- flavours.
64 Heat the milk to 63 C for 30 minutes.

Then cool to 20 C

65 For each 10 l of milk:

- add 1/2 l mesophyllic starter culture

- add rennet according to the instructions on the bottle or packet.

66 Cover the milk and leave the milk to stand for 24 hours at 20 C.

In this time the milk sours and curdles.

  page 254

  67 Rennet works well with warm milk but does not work at temperatures above 55-60 C.
68 Rennet works better with milk which is slightly sour (acid).
 69 You must add the right amount of rennet.

Too much rennet (or too high a temperature) makes the curd soft.

70 You can make your cheese hard or soft by changing the temperature and the sourness of the milk when you add rennet.
  page 255

71 Spread a clean cheese cloth over a sieve.

Fit into a bucket.

Fix with clothes pegs.

72 Put the curdled milk on the cheese cloth.

The curds remain on the cloth and the whey filters through.

73 After another 24 hours, most of the whey filters through.
74 Put the curd in a cheese vat and stir well.
  page 256

75 Transfer the fresh cheese to bowls or small containers.
76 You can eat the cheese immediately or keep it in a refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
What can you do if you have no starter culture?

77 If you cannot get starter culture, you can use acid from fruit or vinegar.

78 Pasteurize the milk at 63 C for 30 minutes.

Stir all the time.
Cool to 20-30 C.

  page 257

79 Add the lemon juice (or vinegar, citric acid) until the milk curdles.
80 Put the curdled milk into a cheese cloth and let the whey filter through for about 6 hours.

The outside temperature should be cool.

Can you add flavours to fresh cheese?

81 Yes, you can add flavours such as salt, curry, chili, garlic or other herbs and spices.

82 Adding chili or garlic flavours may help you to preserve fresh cheese.
  page 258
What can you do with the whey?
83 Make a tasty drink by:
- adding fruit juice or herbs to the whey
- soaking or cooking grain, pulses or dried fruit in the whey.
84 Make cheese (mysost) by:

- cooking the whey in a pot with a cup

- adding sugar, cloves or cumin for flavour

- lowering the heat when the whey thickens

- gentle cooking for about 5 hours until the whey is nearly solid

- putting the nearly solid, brown cheese into cold water.
1 l of whey gives about 200 cc of cheese and you can keep it for a long time.
  page 259

What is a semi-hard ripened cheese?
87 It is a cheese where:
- you press the fresh cheese for a short time
- and then store the fresh cheese to ripen.

It has a water content of 40-50 % and a fat content of 20-35 %.

What other equipment to you need to make a semi-hard ripened cheese?

89 You need equipment for:
- moulding
- pressing
- salting
- ripening.

page 260

90 You need cheese moulds:

- a flowerpot with holes in the bottom

- a cake tin with no bottom and holes in the side

(do not use it for long or it will begin to rust)

- a plastic tube with holes in the side

(do not use plastic tubes from building work as these contain poison).

Important: If possible, make holes from the inside to the outside.

93 Make the edges of the holes smooth so they do not tear the cheese and it is easy to get the cheese out.

Cheese mould with a lid made from a wooden barrel.

  page 261

94 You need a cheese press. This cheese mould is made of wooden planks and is big enough for cheese from 20 l of milk.

It has a lid which is used to press the cheese.
length : 20 cm
width : 20 cm
height : 12 cm

95 This cheese mould is a tin with a diameter of 15 cm.

It has no ends and holes in the sides.

96 Place:
- the tin on a clean, flat surface
- the cheese inside the tin
- a wooden lid of about 13-14 cm diameter on the cheese
- a large stone on the wooden lid.
This is big enough to press the curd from about 9 l of milk.
  page 262

97 You can make a press from the following materials (example measurements):

- 2 metal plates
5 cm long by
21/2 cm wide

- 2 nuts and bolts
8 cm long by
3/4 cm in diameter.

98 Drill two holes in each plate for the bolts to fit through.
99 Weld the nuts over the holes on the top plate.
100 Put the bolts through the bottom plate and screw into the nuts.

The plates can be bigger or smaller as required.

Adjust the pressure often as the cheese shrinks.

  page 263

This cheese press works with a lever.
101 Nail a piece of wood into a tree or wall.

Place the cheese inside a container with no ends and with holes in the sides on a clean flat base.

Put a lid on top.

102 Place:
- one stone on the lid
- a strong pole under the piece of wood on the stone
- another stone on the end of the pole.
The longer b and the shorter a, the stronger your press.
If the distances are 50 cm and 100 cm
the leverage is 100:50 = 2:1

if the weight of the stone is 10 kg

the press is 10 x 2 = 20 kg.


Important, make sure:
- the materials are not poisonous
- the materials are easy to clean and disinfect
- the press is strong enough
- you can check the pressure and keep it the same.
page 264

104 You need:
- a brine (salt water) container
you can use a plastic bucket or bowl
- a place for ripening the cheese

the temperature should be 12-16 C and it should not be too dry

- wooden shelves to store the cheese while ripening

- raw milk
- mesophyllic starter culture
- rennet powder or liquid
- salt (NaCl)
- calcium chloride (CaCl2) and potassium nitrate (KNO3), optional.

  page 265

How can you make semi-hard cheesewith 100l of milk?
108 You should:
- pasteurize the milk for 20 minutes at 65 C
- use indirect heating if possible and stir all the time
(this heater uses gas)
- cool the milk to 30 C by running cold water through the jacket or inserting the vat into a basin with cold water (use ice)
110 (the following is an example but you should follow good advice or instructions)
- dissolve 1.5 g of rennet in a little clean water and add to the milk
- add 1.0 l of mesophyllicstarter culture
- stir well and cover with a lid to make sure the temperature does not fall.
If the rules allow, add 10 g of potassium nitrate (KNO3).
  page 266

111 Leave the milk for about 30 minutes until the curd is firm.
112 To test the firmness in the vat cut the curd with a knife.

Put the knife under the cut and lift up gently.

113 The cut surface should be shiny smooth, yellowish and wet from whey.

Cut the curd into cubes with a side length of 10-15 mm.

114 Wait for 5-10 minutes, then stir the cheese grains gently for 15-20 minutes until they start settling to the bottom.
  page 267

115 Leave the cheese to stand for 15 minutes and then remove 1/3 of the whey.
116 Loosen the curd by stirring.

While stirring pour small amounts of hot water at 65-70  C into the cheese until the mixture reaches a temperature of 36-38 C.

117 Keep stirring for about 30 minutes until the cheese grains are firm but not rubbery.
118 Remove the whey to the level of the curd.

Use a sieve and cheese cloth to catch cheese grains and return to the cheese.

  page 268

119 Wash your hands.

Place a cheese cloth inside a cheese mould.

Warm in hot water just before use.

 120 Fill the mould with curd very quickly.

Do not let the curd cool.

Use only clean hands for filling.

121 Fold the cheese cloth smoothly over the curd.
122 Put the lid on.

Press with twice the weight of the cheese (for every 1 kg cheese use 2 kg press).

  page 269

123 After 1-2 hours of pressing take the cheese out of the mould

wrap the cheese in a new, clean cheese cloth and turn upside-down

put the cheese back in the mould.

124 Press again with five times the weight of the cheese (for every 1 kg cheese use 5 kg press).

Press for 2-3 hours for lighter cheeses and 4-5 hours for heavier cheeses.

  page 270

125 After pressing, put the cheese in cold water 8-10 C until next morning.

Use ice if necessary.

 126 Next morning, make brine (1 kg salt for every 4 kg water).

Put the cheese in the brine at a temperature of about 15 C.

127 For a 1 kg cheese, leave in brine for about 20-24 hours.

Make the time longer or shorter by taste.

128 After salting, dry the cheese.

Ripen it on clean wooden shelves for at least 4 weeks at a temperature of 12-16 C.

  page 271

129 During ripening, take the cheese off the shelves every 3 days.
130 Put vinegar on a cloth and wipe the cheese.

This prevents fungi.

Put the cheese back upside down.

 131 The longer you ripen cheese, the stronger the flavour.


  page 272

What defects are there in cheese?
Flavour defects
132 Taints and off-flavours can come from:
- dirty equipment
- lack of cooking of curd
- too much whey in curd
- bacterial growth.
  133 Sour flavours can come from too much acidity.

Bitterness can come from protein breakdown.

 Textural defects
134 Gassy curd comes from bacteria.

Tough curd comes from too high a temperature at cooking.

  page 273

135 If your cheese is very soft:
- it contains too much water and does not keep long

- your starter culture is too old

- your milk contains chemicals that stop bacteria multiplying e.g. antibiotics from mastitis treatment.
Always wait 5 days after antibiotic treatment before using milk.

136 Defects in appearance

Slimy growths may be white to yellow/brown and come from moulds or bacteria.

  page 274

What do you know about cheese?
What cheese is
Curds separated from whey 
Items for making cheese
1 Good quality milk 
2 Rennet 
3 Starter 
4 Additives 
Quantity of cheese from milk 
Important things in cheese making
1 Factors affecting type of cheese 
2 Adapting recipes and keeping records 
3 Problems of cheese making 
4 Keeping qualities of cheese 
Two common types of cheese
1 Fresh cheese 
- equipment 
- manufacture 
- working without starter 
- flavouring 
- using whey 
2 Semi-hard ripened cheese 
- equipment 
- manufacture 
Defects of cheese
1 Flavour 
2 Texture 
3 Appearance 
page 275

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