If you found your way to my blog, you are either stalking me, or you just love cheese. Loving cheese involves a lot of eating, but someone who takes cheese seriously wants to know where it's from; what it's made of; and, how it was made. If you are looking to level up as a cheese wizard, let me show you some basic steps you can take as you begin your journey in cheese making.
So, it's your first time...
Start with fresh cheeses like paneer or ricotta. Hard cheeses require aging time and are more of a commitment for the inexperienced fromager. The first cheese I made was paneer, and that is where you should start too. It’s one of the simplest cheeses to make which doesn't require spending a ton of money on chemicals from a specialty store; and, you will find all of the ingredients at your supermarket. If you want to get started with paneer, you can try this simple paneer recipe to get your feet wet.
After you’ve perfected your acid-set cheeses, you’ll want to move into more complex fresh cheeses like chevre and mozzarella. Chevre is great because it will finally motivate you to learn where you can find goat’s milk in your neighborhood; and, making mozzarella is a great secondary step because although you probably won’t get it exactly right the first time, you will appreciate how magical mozzarella is. I would suggest grabbing either a mozzarella cheese making kit or an variety cheese making kit (like this one from Standing Stone Farms), because they are usually cheaper than buying the ingredients separately — especially if you end up only making one cheese in your life.
After you conquer the basics, you’re probably already eager to delve deeper into making hard cheeses. Think about making farmhouse cheddar, gouda or feta. There are lots of great cheese making recipes and kits that make it easy to jump right into these more refined, aged cheeses. Your kit may or may not come with wax, so make sure, if you’re making aged cheeses, that you have some cheese wax to help preserve it (most people recommend having one to two pounds of wax). You’ll find that waxing cheese is a lot like making a candle with a piece of cheese — lots of dipping.
Although it’s fun to learn about different milk types and all of different chemicals you can use to make cheese — rennet included — you’ll find that making more complicated cheeses, or even those that you think are simple enough, which you can find widely available at the supermarket, will require a substantial equipment and time investment to produce. So, definitely start small and work your way up.