Making Cheese


Ricotta in the muslin cloth

A new year, new projects. This one is dedicated to my first attempt at making cheese. A long time ago I bought some vegetarian rennet with the vague idea of making cheese, but it never happened. As luck would have it for Christmas I received a cheese making kit from Claire’s parents. Here is the result.

Firstly I just want to say I love the instructions that came with this set, especially the statement “If it doesn’t look like ricotta, then call it something else and eat it anyway”.

I am not going to lie, it didn’t look like ricotta, and we did eat it anyway. Honestly it did go wrong though.

For ricotta the ingredients and instructions are very simple, 8 pints of whole milk, with some citric acid and salt. Boil whilst stirring, leave to cool then drain through a muslin cloth.

So what went wrong?

Well for starters our pan was 5 litres big so almost exactly 8 pints (4.5 l), which caused some spillage – note the smell of burning milk / cheese is not great. I can only guess the pan is somewhat less than 5 l.

The real problem was that we went a bit off piste. Our yield didn’t look nearly high enough – and there wasn’t the characteristic separation. So we added some more citric acid and put it back on the heat. This resulted in the opposite problem, too much separation – with a much higher yield (~900g rather than ~600g).

The resulting cheese was a bit hard and lumpy, rather than the smoother ricotta we were expecting. Still it went well with pasta and it gives me a perfect excuse to try it again. The kit also facilitates the making of mozzarella, but I think new rubber gloves are in order before we attempt that one.

Either way, we made cheese – on new year’s day, and apart from the traditional new year’s day run I can’t think of a better way of spending it.




Sorry it took almost 3 weeks to get post done, I was on holiday in Lanzarote on a cycling / triathlon training camp.

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5 thoughts on “Making Cheese

  1. Wish I was in Lanzarote! I’ve never made cheese, my father-in-law has because my s-i-l used to keep goats and there was plenty of milk. Does it matter if you use pasteurised/homogenised or do you have to get full fat raw milk? How did you eat it?

    • Tell me about it – I was so warm, now there is 6″ of snow.
      Basically we just used normal (Tesco) whole milk – so I guess not. I wanted to get a baseline, bout would love to experiment with other milks. We have been trying to find out where we can get buffalo milk locally, and there are not many options.
      Goats milk would be a great one to try – incidentally we found some really good local goats cheese in Lanzarote.

      • We went to Morocco some years ago and in Casablanca next to the hotel there was a little market and they had great big goat skins stuffed with fresh cheese that people just bought a ‘bit’ of.

  2. Ray says:

    Have you tried making paneer? Panful of milk, bring to the boil, add lemon juice, drain in muslin, squeeze, put a weight on it. Cube. Fry. Add to a curry. Delish!

  3. […] been papers and my thesis. For now back to bread etc, and specifically cheese. As a follow on to making ricotta we had a go at making […]

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