Cheese is a food enjoyed the world over, and has been a staple in our diet for thousands of years. Cheesemaking was traditionally done at home or on the farmstead, but as time has worn on, most of us have lost the knowledge and practice of home cheesemaking. But thanks to a resurgence in home cheesemaking, and the widespread access to cultures, supplies, and tutorials, any person can now have the satisfaction of making cheese in their own home.
What is cheese, exactly? Cheese is made through a process of culturing (or fermenting) milk sugars using beneficial bacteria, molds, and yeasts. Like most fermented products, it has a greater shelf life than its precursor (in this case, milk). There are many types of cheese: some are fresh and ready to eat within a day (like cream cheese), whereas some are aged for years (like parmesan). Some have rinds that are covered with mold (like brie), and some have rinds that are washed with bacteria (like limburger). There is enormous diversity in texture, flavor, and appearance for a category of food comprised primarily of just one common ingredient: milk.
The tutorials below constitute a beginner’s guide. They will get you started on your home cheesemaking journey with tips, how-to’s, and recipes to try. We strive here to give you a complete guide that will give you practical advice and information to get you well on your way to making cheese in your own home. As you progress in your cheese-making skills and interest, we at Swiss Hills Ferments hope that you will continue to read, experiment, and educate yourself about this fascinating craft.