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Food & Drink

4 Delicious Cheeses You Can Easily Make At Home Yourself

By Katherine Notman

4 Delicious Cheeses You Can Easily Make At Home Yourself

Cancel all your plans, everything else can wait!

We all love eating cheese but who knew that the process of making it could be so rewarding? Cheese has been made in Northern Europe for thousands of years and the art of cheese making was well known in every household that owned a cow, once upon a time. You might not have a cow in your back garden but now we’re all trying to limit contact with others, maybe it’s time to reconnect with this lost art.

1. Cottage cheese

Okay, cottage cheese isn’t the prettiest of the cheese but it’s incredibly easy to make. It is one of the healthiest cheeses and pairs brilliantly with a glass of red wine.

To make a couple of cups worth, you will need:

  • 2 cups of milk (semi-skimmed works best but you can use full-fat too)
  • 2 tablespoons of either vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • A colander
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filters
  • A big bowl

Method

Bring some milk to the boil in a pan, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. You sill see the curds begin to separate from the whey as you stir. Now all you need to do is put either the cheesecloth or the coffee filters inside of the colander and leave it to strain above a bowl. Season it with salt and ta-dah! You have cottage cheese!

2. Paneer

Paneer is an amazing Indian cheese that isn’t dissimilar to cottage cheese. However, pressure is used when making paneer to push out most of the whey, which makes for a firmer cheese. It is delicious dusted in garam masala or chaat masala and fried in ghee (clarified South Asian butter).

To make about 4 servings, you will need: 

  • 2 litres of whole milk (as fatty as possible)
  • 120ml of either vinegar or lemon juice
  • A colander
  • Cheesecloth or some clean, spare fabric such as cotton or linen
  • A big bowl
  • A heavy pan or heavy tins from the cupboard

Method:

Heat the milk in a pan, as you would to make cottage cheese. Once you have brought the milk to a boil, take it off the heat and stir in the acidic element (vinegar or lemon juice). The curds will begin to separate from the whey, creating a chunky texture. Pour the contents of the pan into the cheesecloth or spare fabric and tie it at the top. The aim is to remove as much of the whey as possible so you will want to sit the tied fabric in the colander, atop a bowl. You can use the whey later if you don’t want to waste it, to loosen homemade sauces.  You’ll need to place something heavy, such as a pan, some unopened tins or packets of dried beans, for example, on top of the fabric bundle containing the cheese mixture. Give it a couple of hours and you’ll have some tasty tasty cheese to eat!

3. Labneh

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Labneh is a delicious Lebanese cream cheese and it goes well with just about anything. It has a very rich, creamy texture because it’s primarily from yoghurt and it is delicious eaten with za’atar sprinkled on top. Labneh is very easy to make. Even easier than cottage cheese!

To make around two servings, you will need:

  • 500 grams yoghurt
  • Salt
  • About 100ml of olive oil
  • Salt
  • A colander
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filters
  • A big bowl

Place your cheesecloth or a coffee filter in the colander and place a bowl underneath the colander. Then stir a pinch of salt into the yoghurt and literally just pour it into the cheesecloth. Leave it in the fridge for around 24 hours, stir in the olive oil (you can use less if it’s you’re not that keen on olive oil), and then devour it at will. You can store it in the fridge for a week if you can stop yourself from eating it all within seconds.

4. Queso Fresco

If you haven’t had queso fresco before then you quite simply are missing out on one of life’s pleasures. Queso fresco comes from Latin America and it is has a wobbly, yet firm texture. It’s a very diverse ingredient – you can crumble it on top of just about anything but it can also be dried like tofu between kitchen towel and fried for a delicious, crispy outside and a gooey inside. Lots of recipes for queso fresco call for rennet but this recipe is vegetarian and works just as well. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make it yourself by stirring a tablespoon of lemon juice into your full-fat milk and waiting a few minutes for it to sour.

To make 6-8 servings, you will need: 

  • 2.5 litres of whole milk (the fattier the better)
  • 120 grams of double cream
  • 240 grams buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons of either vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • A colander
  • Cheesecloth or some clean, spare fabric such as cotton or linen
  • A big bowl
  • A heavy pan or heavy tins from the cupboard

Method: 

Combine the milk, cream, buttermilk, and a pinch of salt into a pan and place it over a medium heat until it has nearly boiled. You don’t want the mixture to actually boil though. If you are scared of boiling the milk then you can scald it instead. To do this you will need to place the ingredients in a metal bowl above a pan of boiling water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. You might have used this method before to melt chocolate.

Slowly stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and watch it separate into curds and whey. Once the mixture has cooled, line the colander with cheesecloth or fabric, pour the mixture into the lined colander and place it above a bowl, wrapping the fabric tight around the mixture and tying it at the top. After about an hour you can eat it! If you want your cheese to be super firm then you can add another step. Place it inside of a small, springform cake tin with the bottom removed and simply weigh it down for a couple of hours with something heavy from your cupboard.

Read more: This Interactive Map Will Show You The Best Cheeses From Around The World