Basic Cheese Making, Five Gallons

How to Make Cheese at Home

This recipe for a basic hard cheese works for any kind of milk. I primarily use my own fresh goats’ milk, but have made it quite successfully with cow’s milk purchased from the grocery as well as raw cow’s milk from a local farmer. I always use rennet tablets because of their dependability and availability from many supermarkets. I usually make 5 gallons of milk into cheese at a time in a 5 gallon Volrath stainless steel pot. Its thick aluminum bottom pad prevents scorching.

Five gallons of milk produces a 5-6 pound wheel of cheese .

Try several other simpler cheese related projects before you try making a hard cheese. I have written a page on Beginning Cheese Making for this purpose. It might also be wise to master the process for one gallon of milk before making cheese from 5 gallons.

The following images will show the critical steps in practically any cheese making endeavor.

Ingredients: To Turn Five Gallons of Milk into Six Pounds of Cheese

Five gallons fresh milk (Be sure that it has no off flavors due to bacteria)

1 cup (250 mL) live cultured yogurt (I prefer Dannon Plain (minimal additives). Get the freshest available from the store.)

1/4 cup salt

Alternatively, you may use 3 tablespoons (45 mL) active cultured buttermilk as starter.

1 tablet rennet “Junket Rennet Tablets” come in a package of 8 tablets (6.5 g) , by Redco Foods, Inc., P.O. Box 879, Windsor, CT 06095 (formerly the Salada Foods Division). Here is what the back of the package looks like.


They can often be found in your supermarket under the category of “puddings.” If they are not there, ask the manager if he would please order them. You may find some cheese makers on the web who prefer liquid rennet,and disparage the use of rennet tablets. I prefer using materials which are readily available locally. I have not had problems making cheese associated with Junket tablets. Here is a whole page devoted to rennet …

Thermometer, reading -10 to 110°C (0 to 225°F) (I prefer centigrade, but include Fahrenheit numbers as well)
Wooden mixing spoon or whisk
Stainless steel pot (with a heavy thick bottom is best) or enameled pot, 5 gallons, with lid, sterilized.
8″ strainer (You may use a colander, though the whey does not flow through as fast as a strainer.)
Pressing frame (6″ x 9″ piece of PVC pipe or tin can, with ends removed)
A ‘follower’: circular block of wood, 5.5 inches diameter
5 gallon canner
Large white dinner plate
White dish cloth (non-terry), very clean
Rubber band cut from an inner tube
Two chop sticks
Quart mason jar

Avoid aluminum pots, the acid will dissolve them. Sterilize the pot just before use by placing ½ inch of water in the bottom, covering, and bring it to a rolling boil, continue heating for five minutes after steam shoots out from under the lid. Pour out the water, replace sterile lid, keep sterilized pot covered until you are ready to add the milk.) 

Home Made Cheese Pressing Frame



Assembly of a Home Made Cheese Press

How to Wax Cheese


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