Basic Steps to Making Soft Cheese
While it is best to work with a recipe for making any cheese, there are some common methods included in most soft cheese instructions. Below you will find the basic steps employed for making most soft cheese and some tips and techniques for each:
Heat the Milk
To avoid scorching the milk, it is best to heat milk indirectly using a water bath method or over a double boiler. When heating a large quantity of milk, or if indirect heating is not possible, stir the milk frequently as it heats, then constantly once it approaches the final temperature, to avoid scorching.
For best results, we recommend heating milk slowly, over low heat. Learn more tips for heating milk in our tutorial: How to Heat Milk for Culturing.
Add Starter Culture and Rennet
To add powdered starter culture, sprinkle it over the surface of the milk, allowing it to rehydrate for a few minutes before stirring it in thoroughly.
To add an acidic coagulant
Such as lemon juice or citric acid, pour it through the holes in a slotted spoon into the milk and incorporate using long and steady up-and-down motions. Avoid stirring.
To add rennet for firmer curd coagulation
Follow recipe instructions. Rennet is usually dissolved in water, and the solution is added to milk in the same manner as an acidic coagulant, using long and steady up-and-down motions.
Drain the Curd
Once the curd has formed properly, it requires draining. To drain soft cheese, use a colander and butter muslin or acotton bag. Place the colander in a slightly larger bowl and drape the muslin over the colander. Either spoon or pour curds into the muslin-lined colander, according to the recipe’s instructions.
Once all the curds are in the colander, tie the corners of the muslin together to make a sack, and suspend over a bowl for the draining period.
Salt and Store
Once the curds have drained sufficiently, salt to taste, to improve flavor and increase shelf life.
New cheese makers should taste the cheese every day to see if more or less salt should be added. Cover cheese tightly before storing in the refrigerator. Fresh soft cheese will keep 1 to 2 weeks, covered, in the refrigerator.
Below are PDF versions of instructions for all of our Cheesemaking Starter Cultures and booklets for our Cheesemaking Starter Kits. You can view them on the web, download them to your computer, or print them.
Not all cheese starters come with specific instructions. This is because they can be used for endless types of cheese. It's important to check your recipe for detailed instructions.