When you first start making cheese at home, the materials, equipment, and the overall process can start to add up and get expensive. You may feel like you have to get everything all at once to properly make cheese. There are a few ingredients and equipment needed in all cheese recipes that you will need beforehand, but a lot of tools can be simply acquired gradually overtime.
There is no reason that you have to get everything at once or that you have to break the bank when it comes to cheesemaking. Down below we’ll include some fantastic ways that you can save money, re-purpose some common household items and achieve the same, amazing cheese results.
Homemade Cheese Molds
Cheese molds are used to shape the cheese and although there are great, affordable options online, there are countless ways you can mold you cheese with using stuff in your home or DIY your own cheese mold.
To make your own cheese mold, find a food safe container that’s non-corrosive and able to be sanitized easily. If you’re using the mold in combination of a cheese press, make sure that the container can also withhold any weight.
Tin cans with tops and bottoms removed are popularly used for shaping cheeses like Feta and Camembert and larger fruit or coffee tins work the same but for large cheeses.
Containers that are used to store food in the fridge or freezer also be altered to create fabulous cheese molds. Just make sure that they have straight sides, no tapering, and then drill holes so that the whey can drain properly.
Many people have used PVC plastic spouting and piping to make cheese molds along with chopping boards. There is so controversy whether either of these is a good idea, but you can get as creative as you would like and figure out what works best. With both items, there is concerns about chemicals present in treated wood and in the pipes, which can become toxic if heated high enough. Needless to say, you don’t want those chemicals near your cheese at all. This is why it’s best to stick with already food safe containers since you’re know they’re safe for food.
Cheesecloths are used in just about every cheese recipe. They are used to mold the shape of the cheese but sometimes also for draining and lining purposes as well. Luckily, cheesecloths are another area where you can easily save some money in when it comes to cheesemaking.
Items such as net curtains, muslin, cotton pillowcases and bridal veils can all be used as cheesecloths. As long as you boil and sanitize the material, it has a small open weave for the whey to drain out, it should work just fine.
However, with the price of cheesecloths, we personally feel like it may just be easier and worth the money to purchase bulk on Amazon.
Homemade Cheese Press
Once you’re ready to start making hard cheese, you’ll need a cheese press to press and mold your cheese together. Pressing your cheese is a very important step to knit the curds together, extract any extra whey from the cheese, and overall shape your cheese.
If you’re handy, there are plenty of DIY cheese presses that you can create that are more complex but work just as well as a store-bought version. However, if you’re not as handy, there’s a few different DIY cheese presses you can create to get a similar result.
Using a large stockpot or clean buckets, filling them with water will act as a press. 2 lbs of weight is equivalent to about 4 cups of water. Items like heavy books, bricks, or gym weights also provide acceptable weight when stacked correctly. It’s just important to sanitize all equipment before using it.
When DIY your cheese press, it can sometimes be a hit or miss trying to get the right weight, which is why a lot of people opt to purchase their own cheese press, but it’s definitely something that you can purchase later on as you start making more cheeses.
Overtime, you will find that you probably want to invest in some great cheesemaking equipment, but in the beginning as you’re getting the hang of everything, there’s no harm with saving some money and DIYing some cheesemaking tools.
For a more in-depth look at How To Make Homemade Cheese! watch this video
Video Credit to Living Traditions Homestead