"Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye."
― Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Making cheese is a craft that a number of people want to try. These days, because of the explosion of information, people want to try making various things, which were previously not made at home. Making cheese is one such experiment. It is similar to what it was about home-brewing of liqueur a few years ago. Since information is available, it is not difficult to make cheese at home anymore. It has, in fact, become as simple as baking bread at home.
Cheese, like cottage cheese, can easily be made with the ingredients available in any regular-functioning kitchen. However, if you want to make some advanced cheese, you will require additional equipment as well as raw material.
Ingredients for Making Cheese at Home
According to experts, it is recommended to start making cottage cheese when one toys with the idea of making cheese at home. Using these cheese ingredients, you will be able to make delicious cottage cheese, which will be fresh and can be used in cooking Italian dishes. There are just three cheese ingredients required to make this cheese. They are-•
1 gallon of 2% milk•
Half a cup of vinegar•
1 teaspoon of salt
If you want to make the cheese more silky, you can consider adding fresh cream to it, after the milk has curdled and you have sprinkled salt on it.
Ingredients for Making Cheese Commercially
Various types of cheese are manufactured commercially, and generally more ingredients and even equipment is needed for the process. The four main ingredients used in the commercial making of cheese are-•
To make cheese, the most important ingredient is milk. Any kind of milk including cow, goat, sheep, mare, camel, or even buffalo milk can be used. If you are planning to make cheese at home, you can use fresh cow milk you have access to. You can also make cheese using powdered skim milk as well.
The next ingredient in the cheese-making process is starter. Starter to cheese is what yeast is to wine or beer. Cheese gets its characteristic flavor from this colony of microscopic organisms. This cheese starter is a bacterium, whereas yeast used in alcohol is a fungus. However, we would not want to say that fungus has no role to play in cheese-making. The blue appearance on some cheese is the handy work of fungus.
Rennet is the other ingredient. It is actually a curdling agent, and it acts on the milk protein, which causes the milk to separate into solid curd and liquid whey. Traditionally, rennet was derived from calf's stomach; however, vegetarian rennet is also available. The quantity of vegetarian rennet required to make cheese is much more as compared to calf rennet. The quantity of rennet required also depends on the type of cheese to be made. To make soft cheese, less rennet is required, whereas to make hard cheese, more rennet is required.
After rennet, salt is the next ingredient required to make cheese. Salt enhances the flavor of cheese. It also acts as a preservative as well as helps to drain and firm the cheese. Usually, salt is sprinkled on the curdled milk, before it is put into the molds. There are some herbs that can be added to the cheese. Herbs such as parsley, sage, black pepper, etc., are used for the same. The herbs used can either be fresh or dried. These herbs are added to the cheese at the salting phase. There are also some types of cheese that are marinated in beer or cider.
Wax can also be used in some cases to bandage the cheese. Cheese can also be coated with wax. Wax is available in different colors. Coloring agents are also used by commercial cheese makers. It may not be required to make homemade cheese.