Home Made Basket


For the Cheese

  • 1 gallon whole milk works very good. Farm Fresh milk (raw milk) works the best
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3 Rennet tablets
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Place milk in to a stainless steel or an enamel 5 quart pot and add salt.
  2. Dissolve Rennet tablets into water.
  3. Heat milk to lukewarm ( 85F to 90F degrees). Turn off heat. DO NOT LET MILK BOIL.
  4. Stir Rennet water into the warm milk.
  5. Let milk stand for 40 to 45 minutes.
  6. After 40-45 min you should have a thick layer of curd.

Basket Cheese


  • 1 – gallon whole milk
  • 2 – junket tablets (rennet tablets)


  1. Place milk in pot warm to about 90-100 degs.
  2. Crush 2 junket tablets in cup add a little heated milk stir then place within the whole pot.
  3. Mix well maintain heat in milk for another 5 minutes.
  4. Then take pot off heat cover with lid add towels over pot ( safe location ) to hold heat and wait for 50-60 mins.
  5. After 50-60 min wait The milk should be pudding consistency if not, wait longer.
  6. Once pudding consistency put pot back on heat and slowly warm start stirring and milk will start curdling… pull out curds and place in cheese basket.
  7. Once basket filled squeeze to pull out water in cheese basket.
  8. Add a little salt to taste
  9. Then place in fridge when ready to eat.

Italian Easter Cheese — Mother Mildred Valiante’s Recipe

Equipment Needed

  • Plastic basket for cheese (a couple)
  • 6-8 Quart stainless steel pot approximately 4″ high Stainless steel flat mesh strainer
  • Food Thermometer
  • Cheese Cloth (triple line the basket and rinse the cheese cloth under hot water before using

Ingredients needed

  • 6 Junket Rennet Tablets crushed (Market Basket sells them)
  • 1 Gal. Whole Milk (less 1 cup if adding 1 cup Heavy Cream (the cheese is richer tasting)
  • 1 Cup ofHeavy Cream (You don’t have to use the cream, it’s my idea


Pour the milk and heavy cream into the large Pot and heat to approximately 110 degrees. Crush 6 Junket Rennet Tablets into a small cup of milk to melt the crushed tablets and stir it into the milk. Then, remove the pot from theheat so that the mixture will jell together. This will take a few hours or less. You Will see the curds separating from the whey.

Prior to this point, put the cheesecloth lined strainer into a Pyrex glass that holds the cheese basket without falling into the Pyrex glass.

When you see the whey separating in the pot from the curds, put the pot back on low heat and with the strainer, start to pull the curds toward you until almost all the curds have come together.

Then remove the pot off the heat and start removing the curds to the cheese basket and fill it with as much of the curds that you can. Then, tum the basket over into the palm of your hand (the cheese will come out) and nudge the cheese back into the basket. You will see the design of the basket. Take another basket and repeat the process. Refrigerate the baskets in a plastic container with a cover. Whey will continue to extract from the cheese; I leave it in the container to keep the cheese moist.


When you put the cheese into a plastic container you just made, the whey will continue to extract from the cheese and will become denser.


Prior to straining the curds into the baskets, you may want to add salt, pepper, herbs and other seasonings if you prefer. We have always eaten it with eggs on Easter Sunday morning without seasonings or with the appetizers served before the main meal.

Florence Lemanshi

Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients to turn one gallon of milk into one pound of cheese

  • 1 gallon fresh milk (the fresher the milk, the more predictable the cheese)
  • 2-3 tsp. active cultured buttermilk (1/2 cup plain yogurt will also work, yogurt must contain live and active culture)
  • 1/2 tablet Junket® Rennet Tablet (1/4 tablet will work, but takes a bit longer to coagulate)
  • salt


  • 5 quart pot with lid. Heavy stainless is the best, but a light enameled pot can be used if you stir continuously during heating, or heat over boiling water. (Avoid aluminum which can dissolve in the acid.)
  • Wooden spoon to stir whey while heating (a long handled spatula works too)
  • Thermometer (32-220 °F or 0-110 °C) to monitor temperature of whey
  • Receiving container to catch draining whey (a clean plastic bucket will do)
  • 1 quart bowl to receive dipped curds
  • A fine meshed strainer to dip out floating curd
  • Large strainer to suspend over receiving pot
  • Fine weave cloth a boiled handkerchief or a non-terry cloth dish towel to drain ricotta

INGREDIENTS: Whey left from turning a gallon of milk into cheese. This will make about 6-8 ounces of ricotta (almost a cup)

1. Place the whey left over from making basic cheese in a non-reactive pot. Cover and let sit overnight (12 to 24 hours) at room temperature to develop sufficient acidity.

2. The next day, heat the acidified whey over a moderate fire with stirring (do not let it stick or burn) until its temperature is near boiling (220°F or 95°C). Do not let boil over.

3. Remove from heat. Cover and allow the “cooked” whey to cool undisturbed until it is comfortable to the touch (several hours)

4. DO NO STIR UP THE CURD. Gently scoop out most of the fine, delicate curds with the fine strainer and place in a bowl.

5. Set up a receiving container with a large strainer lined with a fine clean cloth. Pour the remaining whey through the cloth (it filters slowly). After most of the whey has drained through, add the curds and let continue to drain.

6. Allow the whey to drain out for 1-2 hours. Then pick up the corners of the cloth, suspend like a bag over a sink to allow the last of the whey to drain out of the ricotta. This will take several hours. It can be done in the refrigerator overnight.

7. Remove the drained ricotta from the cloth, pack into a container, cover and store in the refrigerator. Use it soon after making. Alternatively, ricotta will freeze very well.

Rennet Cheese

1 quart hot tap water
1 cup buttermilk
2 Junket® Rennet tablets dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
2 cups. dry milk powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (optional)
Blend all ingredients and place in a heavy saucepan coated with a nonstick spray. Let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Cut or stir to break into curds and cook over medium heat for five minutes. Pour curds into a strainer, rinse with hot, then cold water, and drain. Salt to taste, then refrigerate. Or, place in a cheesecloth bag and press. This is a very mild cheese, good with salt and chopped chives. Use within 3-4 days. To make cream cheese from this recipe, reduce rennet to 1/4 tablet and add 1 cup buttermilk when mixing ingredients. Set in a warm place overnight. After setting, cut curds into cubes, place curds over medium heat, and cook five minutes. Pour into a cheesecloth-lined colander and let rest 15 minutes. Gather edges of bag, secure with a rubber band and hang, or press until firm like cream cheese. Add salt if desired.

Neufchatel Cheese

This soft, spreadable cheese originated in France and is eaten fresh. Sometimes called “farmer’s” cheese, think of it as a low fat cream cheese, which can eaten on crackers plain or mixed with seasonings, used in cheese cake, folded into omelets, etc.

5-quart stainless steel pot with lid, sterilized by boiling a small amount of water for 5 minutes covered
Whisk, used to mix ingredients (try not to create foam)
Thermometer, should read in the range of 32° to 220° F (0° to 110° C)
Quart strainer
Sterile handkerchief, sterilized by boiling and hanging to dry
Receiving container, to catch draining whey – a one gallon bowl or clean plastic bucket will do.

1 gallon milk
1/4 cup culture buttermilk (fresh)
1/4 tablet Junket® Rennet tablet

1. Pour milk into the pre-sterilized 5-quart stainless steel pot. Warm to 65° F with stirring.
2. Meanwhile, dissolve 1/4 tablet Junket® Rennet in 1/4 cup water.
3. When the milk reaches 65° F, remove from heat, add buttermilk, whisk to mix thoroughly.
4. Stir the dissolved rennet into the 65° F inoculated milk, blend thoroughly.
5. Cover and let sit overnight undisturbed at room temperature (65° to 70° F, 20° C).
6. The next morning, a clean break should have formed (see recipe for basic cheese for the test). If the coagulated milk is not firm enough, let it sit until is does, as long as another 12 hours.
7. When a clean break is achieved, cut the curd into 1/2-inch cubes (see recipe for basic cheese for technique). Some recipes call for stirring the soft curd with a whisk. This will work, but will make the separation of curds and whey more difficult.
8. Ladle the curds and whey into a clean sterile handkerchief supported in a large strainer, placed over a one gallon bowl. Allow the whey to drain through. If the cloth becomes clogged, lift the cloth back and forth or scrape the curd away from the cloth. Save the whey for ricotta if you wish (see recipe).
9. When most of the whey has drained through, pick up the four corners of the cloth and suspend the curd in a cool place to drain overnight (from a shelf of the refrigerator if you have room).
10. The next day, remove the cheese and mix in 1- 3 teaspoons of salt, according to taste. It may be eaten immediately. Store covered in the refrigerator until use.
11. You may pack the cheese into a mold of your choice (a squat tin can with the ends removed for instance).

by Dr. David Fankhauser

Feta Cheese

Feta is traditionally made in Greece from ewe’s milk, but a good facsimile can be made with cow’s milk, etc. It is a fresh, snow-white cheese which is pickled in brine and therefore is a salty cheese. It is fabulous with Kalamata olives and pita bread, as well as in a Greek salad.

1) 5-quart stainless steel pot with lid sterilized by placing a small amount of water in it, covering, and boiling for 5 minutes
2) Thermometer – should read in the range of 32° to 220° F (0° to 110° C)
3) Long-bladed knife to cut the curd
4) Quart strainer to support the draining cloth (handkerchief)
5) 2 sterile handkerchiefs (draining cloth), sterilized by boiling and hanging to dry
6) Receiving container to catch draining whey – a one gallon bowl or clean plastic bucket will do.
7) Cheese mold and weight – cut the ends out of a smooth-sided 4 x 5 inch tin can, save one of the cut ends for the press

1 gallon milk – whole milk for a richer flavor or skim milk for low calorie cheese
1 Tblsp fresh active plain yogurt to use as an inoculum (yogurt must contain live and active cultures)
1/2 tablet Junket® Rennet to coagulate the milk
5 Tblsp table salt to prepare the pickling brine

1. Warm the milk in the sterilized pot to 86° F (30° C). Do not let it burn on the bottom. Remove from heat.
2. Mix yogurt with an equal part milk to blend, then stir into the warmed milk to mix thoroughly.
3. Cover and let inoculated milk sit for one hour at room temperature. Meanwhile, dissolve 1/2 Junket® Rennet tablet in 1/4 cup of cool water.
4. After the inoculated milk has set for one hour, stir in the dissolved Rennet to mix well.
5. Cover and let the inoculated, renneted milk sit overnight at room temperature.
6. The next morning, the milk should have gelled to produce a clean break (as in the basic cheese recipe). Some of the whey will have separated. Cut curd as per basic cheese (see recipe). The curds should be about 1/2 inch in diameter.
7. With very clean hand and arm, reach to the bottom of the pot and gently lift the curds to stir. Cut large pieces which appear with a table knife so that they are 1/2 inch pieces. Continue gentle stirring for 10-15 minutes until curd is somewhat contracted.
8. Decant off the whey through the handkerchief supported by the strainer, then pour curds into handkerchief. Let the curds drain until no more whey drains out (about 2-4 hours). The whey may be saved for ricotta (see recipe).
9. Transfer the drained curds into a bowl, break into small pieces and mix in 1/2 tsp salt.
10. Prepare the cheese mold by lining the tin can (with ends cut out) with a handkerchief. Place the curds into mold, fold over ends of the cloth, place one of the cut ends on top, and place a heavy weight on top to press the curds. Let sit overnight to drain.
11. Prepare pickling brine (12.5% salt): 20 oz of water plus 5 Tblsp salt. Stir to dissolve.
12. Remove the cheese from the press and cut into 1.5-inch pieces. Place into a wide-mouth quart jar. Pour brine over to cover. Let pickle for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. The cheese pieces may then be removed from the brine and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Rinse before use to remove excess salt.

by Dr. David Fankhauser

Basic Hard Cheese

One gallon of milk yields about one pound of cheddar-style cheese. You may use skim or whole milk for this cheese, but whole milk makes a richer cheese. This cheese has no added color.

Ingredients to turn one gallon of milk into one pound of cheese

  • 1 gallon fresh milk (the fresher the milk, the more predictable the cheese)
  • 2-3 teaspoons active cultured buttermilk (1/2 cup plain yogurt will also work – yogurt must contain live and active culture)
  • 1/2 tablet rennet (1/4 tablet will work, but takes a bit longer to coagulate, see step 5)
  • salt

Required Apparatus
Thermometer, reading range 0° to 225° F (-10° to 110° C)
Whisk or other effective stirring and mixing device
Sterilized stainless steel 4-6 quart pot with lid (a thick metal bottom prevents burning)
Long-bladed knife (9-10 inches long)
8″ strainer
Large handkerchief, sterilized by boiling and drying
Cheese pressing frame (4″ diameter, 5″ tall can, about 20 oz, ends removed, save one end for a follower)

1. INOCULATE THE MILK: The evening before you plan to make cheese, warm 1 gallon of fresh milk to 68° F (20° C) in the sterilized pot. Thoroughly blend in 1/4 cup buttermilk to inoculate. Cover inoculated milk with the sterilized lid.
2. INCUBATE OVER NIGHT: Let sit out at room temperature overnight.
3. WARM THE MILK: The next morning, gently warm the milk up to 86° F (30° C). Meanwhile, dissolve 1/2 tablet of Junket® Rennet in 1/4 cup cold water.
4. ADD THE RENNET: Stir the dissolved Rennet into the 86° F milk to mix thoroughly. Cover, let sit undisturbed for an hour or more in a warm place in the room. Be patient. Do not disturb the milk until it has coagulated.
5. ACHIEVE A CLEAN BREAK: Test for a “clean break” (completed action of rennet): Probe a clean finger into the milk and lift. If it has gelled enough to break cleanly as the finger is lifted, go to next step. If the milk is liquid or semi-gelatinous and softly flows across your finger, let sit until a clean break is obtained. It may take as long as 1-2 hours more. Be patient, do NOT disturb the milk.
6.CUT THE CURD: Once a clean break is achieved, cut the curd with a long knife: begin at one edge of the pot and cut straight to bottom. Cut repeatedly parallel to first cut, but increasing the angle of the knife until reaching 45 degrees at the other side of pot. Rotate the pot a quarter of a turn, cut as before. Repeat the rotating and cutting two more times, yielding 1/2 inch cubes of curd.
7. SET THE CURD: Place the pot over a low fire, stir curd with cleaned bare hand by reaching down to bottom, gently lifting and stirring. Cut larger curds as they appear. Do not mash or squeeze. Continue stirring for 15 minutes to prevent the curds from clumping together or overheating at the bottom. Warm the curds to 92° F (34° C) for softer curd cheese, or as high as 102° F (39° C) for very firm cheese.
8. SEPARATE CURDS AND WHEY: Stir and maintain 92° F until curd has contracted to consistency of firm scrambled eggs. Remove from stove and let sit for 10 minutes. The curds should sink in whey. Pour off the whey through a strainer and save for ricotta if you wish. Place the curds in a large bowl.
9. ADD SALT: Sprinkle two teaspoons salt over curds, working with hands to mix in. Pour off any additional whey.
10. PRESS THE CHEESE: Line a smooth-sided 4″ x 5″ tin can from which both ends have been removed with a sterile large white handkerchief. Place the still-warm curds into the cloth, press into the can. Fold the corners of the cloth over top of the curds and cover with the cut-out end of the can. Place a heavy weight on top to press down the curds. Let sit at room temperature for 12 hours or so.
11. CURE THE CHEESE: The next morning, remove and unwrap the cheese from the press. Rub the outside with salt, re-wrap with a fresh handkerchief and place on a rack in the refrigerator. Replace “bandage” when it becomes wet (daily at first). When a dry yellowish rind forms (about one to two weeks in the refrigerator), dip in melted wax, store in refrigerator for about a month (if you can wait that long). The longer you wait, the sharper the cheese.
Avoid aluminum pots because the acid will dissolve the aluminum.
Sterilize the pot just before use by pouring 1/2 inch of water in the bottom, covering, and bring to a rolling boil for at least five minutes. Pour out the water, replace sterile lid, keep sterilized pot covered until you are ready to add the milk.


by Dr. David Fankhauser

Cottage Cheese

  • 1/4 Junket® Rennet Tablet
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 gallon skim milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cream


1. Dissolve Junket® Rennet Tablet in water by crushing. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat skim milk to 70º F. Stir in buttermilk and Rennet Tablet solution, mixing well. Cover with towel and let stand at room temperature 12 to 18 hours until firm curd forms. To test for a firm curd, remove a milk sample at a point near the edge of the saucepan with a spoon. The curd is ready to cut when the coagulated milk sample holds its shape and the edges are sharply defined.

2. Cut curd into 1/2-inch long pieces using a long knife. Heat curd slowly over hot water until temperature reaches 110º F. Hold curd at that temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring at 5-minute intervals to heat curd uniformly. Pour mixture onto the fine cheesecloth in a colander and drain off whey.

3. After whey has drained 2 to 3 minutes, lift curd in cheesecloth and immerse in pan of cold water 1 to 2 minutes, stirring and pressing with a spoon. Then immerse in ice water 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the curd until it is free from whey and place in a large bowl. Add salt and cream and mix thoroughly. Chill.

Please note: The use of any type of Lactaid milk with Junket Rennet Tablets will cause the custard to not set.

Homemade Cheese

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.