Easy Homemade Cheese

Cheese Curds
Wikimedia Commons
  • 01 of 07

    How to Make Homemade Cheese

    Fresh Cheese
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Making cheese at home is way easier than most people think it is. The fresh cheese you end up with is often called farmers cheese or Fromage Blanc. Some people will say this is homemade ricotta cheese, and it can be used like ricotta, but a fresh cheese like this isn't technically ricotta, which is made by re-boiling the whey leftover from making cheese in the first place. This fresh cheese is delicious crumbled onto salads, used on crostini, added to pasta, or served sprinkled with a bit of salt and maybe some minced herbs all on its own.
    The only ingredients needed are:

    • 1 gallon of milk (when possible, whole milk from pastured cows)
    • 1/2 cup of buttermilk or 2 tbsp. of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
    • Salt and/or herbs (optional- to taste)
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  • 02 of 07

    Bring Milk to a Boil

    Boiling Milk for Cheese
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    The fresh taste of homemade cheese is notable no matter what milk you use, but the flavor of the final cheese is pretty amazing if you can get your hands on whole milk from pastured cows. Put a gallon of milk (whole milk will yield the best cheese) in a medium or large pot and just bring to a boil—you want bubbles forming around the edges of the pot.

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  • 03 of 07

    Add Acid to the Hot Milk

    Adding Acid to Cheese
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Once the milk is just about to start to boil, with bubbles along the edges of the pot, add the acid that will make the milk curdle. Our favorite option is a 1/2 cup of buttermilk. We find it creates the milky-est final cheese, but 2 tbsp. of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar work just as well.

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  • 04 of 07

    Let Milk Curdle

    Curds Forming In Homemade Cheese
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Take the milk off the heat and let the acid curdle it. You want the curds (chunks of cheese) and whey (remaining liquid from the milk) to fully separate. Depending on the milk, the acid, and the temperature, this will take between 10 and 20 minutes.

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  • 05 of 07

    Strain the Curds and Whey

    Draining Curds and Whey
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    While the milk is dividing into curds and whey, line a colander or strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and set it over a large bowl. After the milk has divided, pour the curds and whey into the waiting lined strainer.

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  • 06 of 07

    Drain the Fresh Cheese

    Drained Homemade Cheese
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Make sure the curds sit above the strained off whey so any additional liquid can drain off fully. Feel free to lift up the cheesecloth or towel and squeeze out more liquid if you want a firmer cheese.

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  • 07 of 07

    Voila, Homemade Cheese

    Fresh Cheese
    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Seriously, that's all it takes. Transfer the cheese to a bowl or plate. Add salt or herbs, if you like. Store fresh cheese covered and chilled. The flavor is at its best right after making, but fresh homemade cheese keeps for up to a week just fine.