Cheese Making

The value of cheese as a food has not been fully appreciated.

A point in favor of cheese as an economical food is that it does not require cooking before being served. It may, however, be grated and served in a variety of ways with cooked foods.

Considering its high nourishing qualities cheese is a more economical food than meats of any kind. This is especially true in times of meat shortage when prices soar. Consequently, a wider use of cheese will not only relieve meat shortages, but will effect a considerable saving for the consumer. Larger quantities of this valuable food should be produced and used. It can be made on most farms at comparatively low cost.

APPARATUS FOR CHEESEMAKING

The apparatus and equipment needed for farm cheese making can be supplied largely from the average farm house utensils. Following is the list:

Milk vessel - A metal wash tub, a wash boiler, or any large vessel in which the milk may be heated and which can be set on the stove, will do.

Thermometer - A thermometer must be used so that the temperature may be regulated.

Dipper - A dipper is necessary to stir the milk and curd.

Knife - A long knife with which to cut the curd is desirable.

Mold -Lard presses or fruit presses may be used for cheese molds. A sheet of galvanized iron or heavy tin, 22 by 10 inches, can be cut and soldered or riveted into the shape of a cylinder 7 inches in diameter and 10 inches high, which can be used as a cheese mold.

Cheese cloth -The cheese should be protected with a bandage. This bandage should be made of cheese cloth or flour sacking or unbleached linen beforehand so that it will be ready to use. It must be made to fit the inside of the mold.

Rennet tablets - Rennet tablets are used to coagulate the milk. They may be purchased from any dairy supply house. Check the Yellow Pages.

Cheese press - Fruit presses or lard presses will serve for cheese presses. A home made press can be made by thrusting one end of a long plank under a cleat or support so that the free end may serve as a weight to press down against the cheese which is placed under the plank near its stationary end.

METHOD OF MAKING CHEESE

For five pounds of cheese, about 50 pounds of milk will be required. Fresh, sweet, morning milk should be used. It should be put in a wash boiler or similar vessel, set on the stove and heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A thermometer should be used so that the temperature may be read and regulated exactly. While the milk is warming up to 90 degrees, dissolve one No. 2 Hansen's rennet tablet in half a glass of cold water. When the milk is exactly 90 degrees, add the rennet solution. Stir gently for two or three minutes. Regulate the heat to keep the milk at 90 degrees until the curd is cut. Record the exact minute of adding the rennet solution. By dipping into the milk with a teaspoon at intervals of every half minute, determine when the milk first begins to coagulate. Record the exact minute that coagulation first appears. Setting usually takes 30 -45 minutes.

The curd should be cut into half-inch cubes. To make these cubes it will be necessary to cut the curd lengthwise and crosswise into strips, half an inch thick, and into half-inch layers from top to bottom. A knife long enough to reach the bottom of the vessel may be used for making the lengthwise and crosswise cuts.

Raise the temperature at the rate of about two degrees every four or five minutes until it reaches 114 degrees F. The curd should be stirred gently with a dipper during the heating. It should be held at 114 degrees for an hour. The curd should then be run into a strainer cloth to drain off the whey. After about ten minutes of draining, it should be put into a dish pan and broken into small pieces with the hands. Four ounces of salt should then be thoroughly mixed through the curd. The salt should be put on in three applications, each two or three minutes apart. When the salt is dissolved the curd is ready to press. A mold such as that described under the list of apparatus must be used for pressing the cheese. The grooved board, previously prepared, should be covered with a cloth and the mold placed on it. Line the mold with the cheese bandage. It is now ready to receive the curd. Place a circular piece of cloth and then the board disk on top of the curd and apply pressure with a fruit or lard press, or with a home-made press. The pressure should be applied gradually or the cheese will not mold into a solid cake. If a press is not at hand, one can be made by thrusting one end of a 12-foot plank under a support which should be about 16 to 20 inches above the ground. The support can be made by nailing to the wall a short piece of 2 by 4. The mold should then be placed about 2 feet from the wall and the plank placed in position across its top. The free end of the plank will cause a downward pressure on the cheese.

It will be necessary to place a block of wood about 4 inches square on top of the cheese and to regulate the height of the mold so that the plank will be level when pressing on the cheese. Increased pressure should be applied by attaching a weight to the extreme end of the plank. As the pressure should be gradually increased, about 10 pounds should be added to the weight each two or three minutes until at the end of 15 minutes 75 pounds of pressure has been applied. Let the cheese remain in the press for three or four hours, then remove it, straighten out the cloth bandage and smooth down with hot water. Replace the cheese in the mold and press over night. Take the cheese out of the mold, apply paraffin or grease to the outside and place it in the cellar or suspend it in the well where it will ripen. It should be ripened at a temperature of about 60 degrees F. and should be rubbed with the hands every day or two to prevent the growth of mold. Sometimes, because the salt has not properly penetrated the curd, the finished cheese may puff or bloat when a few days old. Salt rubbed on the surface with the finger tips will correct this tendency. Application should be repeated the following day. The cheese will be ready to eat in about four weeks.

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About The Author, Leon The Milkman
Leon the Milkman is the owner of http://www.LeontheMilkman.com and http://www.dairy-info.org from where he gives a dairy dictionary and cheese tasting terms guide to new members.