So you're ready to make your own cheese. You've found a recipe, you've chosen a milk. You have visions of a tasty mozzarella to melt over homemade pizza or homemade chèvre to serve as a cracker spread at parties. You may even have purchased cheese cultures already.
The next step is cheesemaking supplies! Your kitchen likely already contains many of these tools and supplies needed for home cheesemaking:
7 Essential Tools For Home Cheesemaking
1. Large Stock Pot
Many cheese recipes require 2 gallons (8 quarts) of milk, plus about 1 cup of additional ingredients, so the pot should be large enough to hold that amount, with enough extra room for stirring comfortably. The pot should be stainless steel or unchipped enamel. Avoid pots made of aluminum and other reactive metals.
The thermometer for cheesemaking must be reliable and accurate. Some brands have a handy clip for attaching to the side of the pot, a nice feature for cheesemaking. We carry two types of thermometer for cheesemaking:
3. Measuring Spoons and Cups
Stainless steel or glass measuring utensils are preferable because they are non-reactive and easy to clean. Sanitized plastic or nylon will work, too. For measuring smaller ingredient amounts, a Mini Measuring Spoon Set is ideal.
4. Long-Handled Spoon (or skimmer)
A quality spoon is like a third hand in home cheesemaking. It is used for adding starter culture, incorporating rennet, stirring and scooping curds. Plastic or nylon spoons work, though small holes can be difficult to clean thoroughly. A bamboo spoon is wonderful for stirring cheese: it's comfortable to hold, non-reactive, and easy to clean. Stainless steel spoons are another good option.
5. Large Bowl
A large bowl is useful for heating milk indirectly and for catching whey. Choose a large, sturdy bowl (13-quart if available), and it will serve many purposes.
6. Cheesecloth and Butter Muslin
Cheesecloth and butter muslin are used to drain cheeses and for many other tasks in home cheesemaking. To learn more about these useful products, read our article on Cheesecloth and Butter Muslin, including instructions on cleaning and re-using both types of cloth.
A colander is used for draining whey from cheese curds. Any non-reactive material (plastic, metal, enamel) will work. As with other utensils, avoid aluminum and other reactive materials, even when lined with cheesecloth.
With these basic items, you should be able to make most beginner cheeses successfully. As you progress to more advanced techniques such as Pressing Hard Cheeses and Waxing Hard Cheeses, add to your cheese supplies as needed, or check our Advanced Cheesemaking Supply List for more information.