Essential Equipment for Making Hard Cheese

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Essential Equipment for Making Hard Cheese

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One of the biggest benefits of having your own dairy animal, be it goat or cow, is plenty of fresh, raw milk.  An abundance of fresh milk means making dairy products yourself.  Yogurt, kefir, butter, and cheese.  Several friends have told me that making hard cheeses sounds difficult and are intimidated by the process.  Not so!

Here is what you need to get started making hard cheese

Cheesemaking is really not difficult and quite fun! Once you get started, you will soon want to make all the cheese and maybe talking your husband into making your very own cheese cave.  Ahem.

Milk

A source of milk is needed before you get started. What your source is doesn’t matter, milking your own animal or purchasing milk from a farmer or the store, it will all work.  Most recipes call for 2 gallons of milk for a wheel of hard cheese.

Equipment

When getting ready to make hard cheese,  you will need some equipment to get started.  Some things are absolutely necessary and some things you can replace with things that you already have in your kitchen. Here’s a quick rundown.

Cheese Press with pressure gauge

The most important piece of equipment for making hard cheese is a good cheese press.  I tried a “beginner’s cheese press” when I first started and it resulted in a lot of frustration and cheese that did not turn out.   A cheese press with a pressure gauge is crucial.  Instead of stacking bricks, weights or any other heavy items onto your cheese, you can just turn the pressure to the amount required in the recipe.  30 pounds of pressure?  No problem!  Avoiding leaning towers of bricks in the kitchen is always a good thing.

A cheese press is the most expensive part of getting started, but the rest of the items required are either already in your kitchen or inexpensive.

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