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Introduction to Cheesemaking


Simple fresh cheese is a joy to make – and to eat. And it really is very simple. All you need for the really basic version is milk, lemon juice and salt (as well as a pot, a thermometer, a cheese mould*, and some kind of slotted spoon). The basic process is this: heat your salted milk to just under body temperature, stir in the lemon juice, leave it for a wee while, skim off the solid bits that have formed, let it all drain. That’s it. I think this kind of cheesemaking is quicker and less fiddly than jam making, and working at lower temperatures makes it a little less intimidating. Be sure to clean all your equipment thoroughly before you use it. The basic idea with cheesemaking is that you add some kind of acid to milk to curdle it, and that the curdled bits are what turns into cheese. When you’re making the kind of soft cheese that we’re making here, this happens very quickly and easily, and the texture and firmness of the cheese depends on how much and how well you drain it. Drain it really well and it gets firm, drain it less well and it’s a bit runnier. This is all about personal preference – no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about it.

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