Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Learning to Make Cheese

Cheese making is an art form that until I started to shop more locally I never even thought about attempting to learn.  In recent years I've been thinking more about supporting local farmers and wanting to know more about where my food comes from.

I live in a suburb of Philadelphia but I work about an hour north of the city. This area is rural and it's easy to find fresh milk and vegetables, but finding a local source of cheese and yogurt has been more of a challenge.
I started thinking about trying to make my own cheese about a year ago, but it look the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge to motivate me to try it.

The monthly challenge for Februray was Soil Building. I spent some time learning more about how to prep the soil in my raised beds and built a temporary compost bin. It was an inexpensive, fast way to get my pile started (I had one of those black plastic towers at my old house.) Later this year I plan to construct a multi-bin system.

This month the challenge is Home Dairy. Besides the Urban farm Handbook I also purchased another book Home Dairy  by Ashley English from the Homemade Living Series. I have to say I love this book. The recipes are simple, straight forward and easy to understand.

Before making cheese I needed to buy a few cheese making supplies:

I decided to try to make mozzarella first. It was much easier than I thought it would be.

I used 1 gallon of fresh local milk and ended up with good sized piece of mozzarella. I also made some ricotta from the whey that was left over from the process. 

This is the harder type of mozzarella. Not the type that is softer and in a brine.

Perfect for making pizza!

I would call this adventure a success.


  1. very nice! I like making my own mozzarella and farmers cheese once in a while when I get a whim to do it but we don't eat alot of cheese so it's not often occurance.

    1. I'll have to try the farmer's cheese too. I think I'm going to try feta this weekend if it rains. I love cheese! :)

  2. Wow that is pretty cool. Where did you find your supplies?

    1. I got everything I needed except for the milk at New England Cheesemaking Supply Company (online). They had very fast shipping!

  3. That is awesome. I need to find a source for raw milk in my area. I think I need to get that book too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Raw milk is best, but if you can't find a good source you can use milk that is not ultra-pasteurized.