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Essentials for DIY Cheesemaking

Roll up your sleeves for a fun weekend project: making your own cheese. You won’t believe how easy it is to make homemade ricotta, mozzarella, burrata, or even feta. The most difficult part has always been sourcing the specialty ingredients, but thanks to the magic of two-day delivery, it’s simple to order everything online. Here are the tools and ingredients you’ll need on hand.

  • Product

    All-Clad 8-Quart Stockpot

    Just about all homemade cheese begin by heating milk in a large pot so it can curdle. You want something non-reactive and heavy-duty, so there are no hot spots that can cause the milk to scorch. All-Clad’s D5 brushed stainless steel 8-quart stockpot is one of our favorites…and it’s dishwasher safe!

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  • rennet tablets
    Ingredient

    Rennet

    Rennet is an enzyme essential to cheesemaking. It sets, or curdles, the milk so that the curds separate out from the whey. Traditionally, rennet comes from the stomach of a calf, lamb, or goat, but today there are vegetarian versions available. All have the same coagulating ability. Rennet is available in solid tablets (as shown) or in liquid form.

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  • calcium chloride
    Ingredient

    Calcium Chloride

    Because pasteurization removes some of the calcium from processed milk, calcium chloride reintroduces that calcium, which helps the cheese set up into nice firm curds. It is sold in liquid form so that it’s easy to add to the milk.

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  • Product

    Cheesecloth

    Cheesecloth is used for so many other, more everyday kitchen tasks–infusing spices, straining yogurt–it’s easy to forget that its raison d’etre is, of course, making cheese. Sceng’s unbleached Grade 90 all-cotton cheesecloth has an extra-fine weave and is ideal for straining curds for making ricotta or feta. It’s washable and reusable, too.

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  • Polder thermometer
    Product

    Polder Clip-On Candy Thermometer

    Whether you’re making ricotta, feta, or mozzarella, you need to bring the milk or curds to precise temperature. A candy/deep-fry thermometer, like this one from Polder, clips on to your pot, keeping your hands free for stirring.

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  • citric acid
    Ingredient

    Citric Acid

    An acid that’s naturally abundant in lemons and other citrus, citric acid is sold in powdered form for making soft cheeses such as mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta. Though many recipes for homemade cheese call for lemon juice, powdered citric acid provides a more precise amount of acid, while individual lemons may vary in acidity. Citric acid is also used as a preservative in packaged foods.

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  • Ingredient

    Mozzarella Curd

    For a shortcut in making homemade burrata, you can start with purchased mozzarella curds, which you then warm in hot water and stretch by hand to enclose the straciatella filling.

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  • Ingredient

    Lipase

    An essential ingredient in making feta, this powdered enzymet breaks down milk fat and creates feta’s distinctive “cheese-y” flavors. Calf lipase, used for feta, produces the mildest flavor (lipase from other animals are used in other types of cheese).

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