General Instructions for Homemade Cheese
Buy whole, pasteurized milk from a creamery for the best possible cheese.
1. Heat the milk in a stainless steel saucepan and, stirring often, warm it to the required temperature (each recipe varies slightly).
2. Still stirring, add the rennet (or citric acid), as for ricotta. Cover; let curds form without stirring, keeping the temperature steady.
3. Using a rubber spatula, break up the curd. This will allow the whey to separate from the curd. A resting period usually follows this step.
4. Place a sturdy cheesecloth over a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curd to a cheesecloth.
5. Grab the cheesecloth and pull it tight, allowing the whey to drain off into the bowl underneath.
6. Transfer the curd to perforated baskets over a plate with a slotted spoon. The baskets should be perforated in order to facilitate the draining of the whey.
7. Refrigerate the curd; it will set into cheese. Allow it to set for the number of hours specified in the recipe.
8. Turn the cheese out of the basket and press the basket on top of the cheese to create an imprint, or weigh it down with a small can or weight if required.
9. Some cheese is rubbed with salt or immersed in brine before being eaten. Refrigerate the cheese and serve within 3 to 5 days, depending on the recipe.