This Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe is an easy way to learn the art of cheesemaking and requires just 3 simple ingredients!
Several years ago, one of my life goals was to learn how to make cheese. Over the last year, I have done what I used to think was going to be impossible to learn: make cheese. The excitement is just beyond anything I have ever imagined.
Like Gouda, Pepper Jack and Wenslydale Cheese with Walnuts.
When the urge to make cheese strikes, I stop everything and whip up a new recipe. Every so often I realize that I’m out of culture (which is required for many aged cheese varieties). If you don’t have mesophilic or thermophilic culture, don’t despair.
Homemade greek yogurt (which I make in my Instant Pot) can serve as a stand-in to Thermophilic culture. It’s quite easy and requires just 3 ingredients – homemade yogurt (with active cultures), rennet and raw milk.
Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe
The best part about making this simple yogurt-cultured rennet cheese is that you can make it in just a few hours or less with just 3 ingredients.
First, you’ll want to pour a gallon of raw milk into a large, non-reactive pot. Slowly (on the lowest heat) heat up the milk to 95 degrees. (Make sure you use a thermometer). Add the yogurt and stir thoroughly. Allow the yogurt and milk mixture to sit for 10 minutes as the yogurt cultures the milk. (The thermal mass should keep the mixture at near 95-100 degrees F).
Add the Rennet
After giving the yogurt time to culture the milk, add 1/2 tsp rennet to 1/4 C. cool water and stir until combined.
Slowly pour the rennet into the warmed milk. Stir it in slowly, over the next 30 seconds, using an up and down motion. Rennet works quickly so don’t be too heavy-handed.
Once you have the rennet stirred in, stop stirring and put a lid on the pot. Allow the rennet to do its thing for 45 – 60 minutes (avoid touching during that time).
Cut the Curd
After that time, the rennet should have formed a nice curd on the top of the pot. Remove the lid and use a long knife to cut horizontally and vertically (like a checkerboard pattern) with 1/2 inch spacing. Allow the curd to rest for 5 minutes, covered.
Warm the Curds
Then, turn the heat back on low and place the thermometer back on the pot. Gently (and slowly) bring the milk curd up to 100 degrees F. If you are going after a cheese that’s a bit more solid (harder) then warm the milk curds up to 100-105 very slowly over the course of 30 minutes.
If you are looking for a soft cheese, simply bring the milk curds to 100 and keep at that temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Drain the Curds
Grab a colander and place it on top of a large pot to catch the whey. Line your colander with cheesecloth (or cheesecloth alternative) and pour the curds in.
Take special care to catch all the whey in the bottom pot.. that whey has so many uses (including this delicious whey caramel!)
Once the whey has filtered out of the colander, generously salt the curd with 2-3 tsp salt. The salt will help draw out the whey (making a harder cheese) and also give the cheese flavor. Don’t be too light on the salt.. some of it will work its way out in the form of whey.
In other words, the more the merrier.
Tie Up or Transfer to a Cheese Mold
Transfer your curds to a cheesecloth lined cheese mold and place the follower on top. Or simply tie up the cheesecloth very tight and allow it to hang over a bowl in the fridge for an hour or up to 24 hours for a firmer cheese.
I line a cheese mold with coffee filters (if I don’t have cheesecloth) and press at 10 lbs in my cheese press for 2 hours before removing. If you don’t have a cheese press you can tie up your cheesecloth or even use canning jars as an inexpensive weight.
(I love this cheese press… and I picked it up for a reasonable price on Etsy.)
You can eat this cheese right away or age for several days.
To age, you’ll want to wrap your Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese in a clean piece of cheesecloth and keep on a cheese mat at room temperature. Re-wrap in new cheesecloth daily. When the rind of the cheese is dry, mold spots may/will begin to show. If this happens, wipe the rind down with cheesecloth soaked in apple cider vinegar and dry with a paper towel.
Once the cheese is dry, you can wax the cheese for longer aging or refrigerate in a covered container and enjoy at your liesure.