Fresh and Versatile Cheeses

Add calcium chloride and rennet to your cheesemaking steps to create coagulated milk. Curds and whey are useful in the kitchen and garden.

| May 2019

Diluted rennet is added by pouring it over a slotted utensil so that it disperses evenly across 
the milk and can be stirred efficiently. 
Photo by Gianaclis Caldwell

The first two methods of basic cheesemaking are a combination of heat and added acid to curdle milk, and added starter culture to cause bacteria to produce acid and curdle milk. The next steps in the basic cheesemaking process include using a tiny amount of rennet to help coagulate the milk, and draining of the curds. These steps take a while as the added bacteria must be given time to produce enough acid to form a curd. With the addition of a touch of rennet, the milk will achieve a much thicker consistency than any of the products in the last chapter. This is also the first time that calcium chloride is used in the recipes, since it is only helpful if you are using rennet. All of the cheeses made with the following method are tender, soft, and meant to be used fresh.

As with the other cheese and milk products we have made so far, there is a huge variety made throughout the world that go by many different names. But you wouldn't learn any more, other than that there is little difference between these recipes.

Steps for Making Fresh and Versatile Cheeses

The method for making fresh and versatile cheeses is essentially the same as the one for making cultured milks and creams only with a few additional steps after the milk is heated and the culture is added. This method yields about 2-2.5 pounds of cheese per gallon of milk (0.9-1.1 kg per 4 L), depending on how long it the cheese is drained.

Follow the steps for heating the milk and adding the culture, then continue with the following steps:

Add Calcium Chloride

If calcium chloride is to be used (it is usually optional, but sometimes helpful), it is always diluted and added at least 5 minutes before the rennet; it is never added afterwards or the coagulation will be erratic and broken. The recommended dose of calcium chloride is approximately equal to the amount of single-­strength rennet used, or about 1/4 tsp. (0.7 ml) per gallon of milk. It should be diluted in cool tap water before it is added to the milk. Use 1/4 cup (30 ml) water for every 1/4 teaspoon (0.7 ml) of calcium chloride.



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