How to Make Your Own Cheese

Despite how technical modern cheesemaking has become — even where small producers are concerned — it all comes down to the same few basic steps that you too can follow:

  1. Bring the milk “up to temperature” (to simulate the animal’s body temperature, which activates the starter culture) and adding the starter culture

  2. Add a coagulant, such as rennet

  3. Form and mold the curd, and drain the whey

  4. Salt the cheese

  5. Age the cheese (during which rind develops, with the exception of fresh cheeses)

If the milk is to be pasteurized, that step precedes everything else; it will then be cooled down and become ready for the cheesemaking process.

Sometimes, as with the production of fresh cheese, one or more steps will be omitted, but all cheese requires the milk to at least be brought up to temperature so that the milk can coagulate (when the proteins clump together to form curds).

General steps in the cheesemaking process.
General steps in the cheesemaking process.