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Can I use tap water to make cheese?
Tap water can contain chlorine which kills bacteria and should not be used for making cheese. Use bottled or filtered water instead, or boil tap water. You can also leave tap water sit on the counter for 24 hrs to remove chlorine. It is especially important to boil water if you are on a well.
Can I use UHT milk and what is it?
UHT (ultra heat treated) milk has been pasteurized at a high temperature and makes the milk unsuitable for making most cheeses. It is possible to make cream cheese from UHT Milk in some places. Check the label for the symbol UHT. If it has UHT on the label don’t use it for cheese making unless you have no other choice. Then only proceed with soft cheese.
What kind of salt can I use?
Pickling, kosher, Rock and Sea salt are all acceptable salts to use. Iodized salt (common table salt) is not recommended for cheese making, as iodine kills the good bacteria you just added as your culture. We don’t recommend pink Himalayan because if your cheese takes on a pink colour it could be your salt or it could be really harmful mould growth. It’s best to be safe.
Can I use raw milk with the same recipes as pasteurized? Can I use goat milk or cow milk?
Raw milk is illegal to sell in Canada, and cheeses made with raw milk must be aged at least 60 days (listeria bacteria cannot survive that long in food properly handled) however raw milk has been used to make cheese for centuries with a little care. If you are pregnant or immunocompromised we recommend low temp pasteurization, heat your milk to 145f for 30 minutes, then use and ice bath to cool to your starting temperature, around 88f for most cheeses. Some cheeses need a specific kind of milk to make a traditional wheel, others are interchangeable. There is the nothing wrong with experimenting and learning at your own pace.
What happens when my milk ends up getting too hot for culture or rennet?
Mesophilic culture is a bacterial culture that prefers cooler temperatures to multiply, thermophilic cultures prefer a hotter temperature to thrive. If your milk gets too hot before you add anything, simply cool it and start then. If you have added your rennet already it’s best to consider how much over the temp you have reached, if it’s more than about 10 degrees I’d pull out a Parmesan recipe and switch tracks. Your curd will expel too much whey to successfully create the cheese you were aiming for. Do your best to follow the directions of the recipe.
What if my milk is not warm enough?
If your temperature is too cold the starter culture you are using may not reproduce enough to develop flavors and acid and the rennet may not set properly. Check your thermometer regularly by calibrating it, your specific model should come with instructions how to do that.
Can I rescue my milk after the temperature gets too high or too low by accident?
Yes you can turn up the heat if your milk temperature is too cold and the starter culture will begin to act as it should. If you have the milk hotter than the target temperature and if you think you have killed off the bacteria due to too high of heat you can cool the milk down and start over again as long as the milk was not heated as high as UHT (above 135 °c)
How can I make a cheese cave?
A cheese cave is a clean place where your cheese can age. There should never be any meat, fruit or vegetables in the same place that you are aging your cheese because these can carry other unwanted bacteria. You can use the crisper in your fridge to age cheese. It is slightly cooler in a crisper than the ideal temps for aging which are between 11-13c 50-55f but works well for beginner. Once you are ready to move on you can purchase a wine cooler which is perfect for aging cheese. From there if you need more room or a bigger cave you can transform an old fridge into a cheese cave by purchasing a thermostat online. Inkbird is a popular name for thermostats.
How much CaCl2 (calcium chloride) do I use?
Current FDA guidelines on Calcium Chloride use state that you should use no more than ¼ tsp of 30% liquid Calcium Chloride. We don't reccommend cacl2 for any stretching cheese, such as Mozarella.
Can I use Organic Milk for cheeses?
Yes just check the label and make sure it is not UHT milk.
How can I stop the curds from sticking to the cheesecloth?
Make sure you wet your cheese cloth before putting any curds in it. Always rinse your cheese cloth in cold water first to remove any curds ( if you start with hot water they may melt into the cloth ruining it)
How do I increase humidity in my cheese cave?
Wet a paper towel and put it into a small dish and into the corner of your cave if it’s a small cave. If it’s a larger cave add more water and a bigger bowl.
Can I vacuum seal my cheese?
Yes, you can and many cheese making companies are doing just that. Make sure your cheese is dry to the touch before you vacuum seal your cheese or mold can still grow inside the sealed bag. You may wish to seal the bag twice at each end to protect the seal.
Can cheese be frozen?
Yes cheese can be frozen but some cheeses will change texture. Do your research before freezing.
My family really likes feta after it has been frozen as it makes a more crumbly cheese.
Can milk be frozen and defrosted and made into cheese?
Yes milk can be frozen and defrosted for most cheeses.
What cheeses can I make without rennet?
Any acid cheese such as farmers cheese or Ricotta where an acid such as vinegar or lemon are added to the milk to aide in curdling the cheese.
Why did my cheese turn out bitter?
There are many reasons as to why your cheese can go bitter. Most commonly is too much rennet or too much culture. If the culture sits too long in the milk or is heated too high it can develop too much acid and leave a bitter flavor. If not enough whey has been released from the curd for the specific cheese being made , bitterness can occur. It may also just not be ready yet.
Why won't my cheese melt?
If it is supposed to melt and it doesn't, most commonly a problem for mozarella you may have a Ph issue and a Ph meter would really help, even Ph strips can help determine the issue.
There are so many questions when it comes to making cheese and even after years of cheese making and teaching cheese we still have some questions too. Feel free to join our Facebook group "Learn to make Cheese" Here https://www.facebook.com/groups/learntomakecheese/
Ask any cheese making questions you need to. Our group is free and spans all over the world. We have over 50,000 cheesy members and many famous cheese makers learning and offering lots of help. They are all learning at different levels and happy to help in any cheesy way they can.
The internet is a great place to learn cheese making but you can't talk directly with someone all the time. On our facebook page you CAN! Check us out for more support than you can possibly imagine.