Making cheese is like mastering a foreign language.
I’m not gonna lie, cheesemaking can be difficult to learn.
You must understanding WHY you should make your own cheese, otherwise you’ll quite after you read the cheese make recipe!
If you have access to the best cheese made from artisanal farmstead cheese makers, by all means buy their cheese. But, most of the people I know can’t get ahold of organic, pastured and raw artisanal farmstead cheeses.
Here are my top 10 reasons you should make your own cheese:
1.) Cheese is a live fermented superfood!
It contains calcium, protein, vitamin D, CLA and K2. K2 prevents heart disease, bone and join diseases (Source: Mercola.com). If you could choose only one food to live on, cheese would be your best choice!
Hard cheeses that have a long aging time over 90 days, like Gouda, Cheddar, Parmesan etc., contain the mysteries vitamin K2. The top three foods highest in K2, is Natto, Goose Liver and Gouda cheese! Gouda has 75 mcg per 3.5 oz serving of K2.
K2 comes from fermentation, good bacteria actually create K2.
“Vitamin K2 has no known toxicity even at high intake levels, but is most effective when consumed in the presence of the other fat soluble activators Vitamin A and D. Therefore, getting Vitamin K2 from food is best.” Source: Sarah Pope, Healthy Home Economist
Cheese is actually a fermented food! Turing milk into cheese is done through culturing / fermenting! “Eating fermented foods is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. Fermentation increases the beneficial bacteria, vitamins and enzymes present in foods and makes the nutrients they contain more bio-avaliable.” Source: Chris Kresser
2.) You can choose milk that is not heated (unpasturized / raw)
Raw milk cheeses are more digestible and contain a full complement of enzymes and nutrients not found in pasteurized cheeses. Milk that is subject to ultrahigh pasteurization temperatures is deficient in B vitamins, especially thiamine and riboflavin not to mention all the beneficial buggies that help keep your gut healthy! (source: Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking by G. Caldwell)
3.) Cheese is full of beneficial enzymes!
Every process in life involves enzymes, from digestion of food to the decay of rotting food! There are over 60 naturally occurring enzymes found in raw milk and when you make cheese you’re starting with 60 and adding more beneficial cultures and then then enzymes make more in the aging / fermentation process!
4.) You can choose the milk source
You can avoid milk that’s from cows that are eating a diet of GMO CORN and GMO SOY!
5.) You can choose your milk type: goat, sheep or cow
We chose to keep Jersey cows because we love them. Everyone has there favorite breed, you can choose your own animal type!
6.) Real top quality cheese is VERY EXPENSIVE
If you were to buy top quality farmstead artesian cheese your looking at paying anywhere from $8 a lb to $50 a lb!
7.) You can use milk from cows grazing on lush pastures
Green forage is a cows natural diet. Grain is not natural for a cow. Cows have four stomachs to ferment and digest tough grasses. ”A serious problem with today’s dairying methods is the feeding of grain and soy in confinement feeding operations. Grain stimulates the cow to produce large quanities of milk and contributes to the high rate of mastitis, sterility, liver problems and shortened lives. The proper food for cows is green plants, espeically the rapidly growing green grassses in the early spring and fall. Milk from properly fed cows will contain the Price Factor (vitamin K2) and cancer-fighting CLA as well as a rich supply of vitamins and minerals.” (Source: Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions)
8.) If you have a family cow… you have lots of milk!
Making cheese is the BEST way to preserve milk while turing it into a even more nutrient dense food. Making cheese, gives you a source of nutrients in the winter when milk quality goes down (when cows are eating hay) and when you dry your cow off (stop milking) at the end of lactation before their next calf.
9.) Making your own cheese, you know the ingredients!
You can avoid refined salt, emulsifiers, extenders, phosphates and hydrogenated oils found in Processed cheeses! (Source: Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions)
10.) The process of making cheese is time consuming
Cheesemaking can take anywhere from 1- 24 hours; it’s compatible for a stay-at-home parent. Cheesemaking is a lot of cleaning, doing a little, waiting, do a bit more, wait, wait some more, check it, wait some more, do a little then put it in the press, brine or on the matt to drain, clean some more. Cheesemaking has lots of breaks where you can tend to children or do whatever!
I found cheesemaking to be the perfect compliment to a stay-at-home Mom (who runs a farm with her hubby and toddler). Cheesemaking is easier than gardening since it happens in the house, in a climate stable and baby proof environment… perfect for child care!
Parmesan Cheese rubbed with olive oil in the aging process.
Cottage Cheese with our neighbors fresh peaches It was soooo good.
Colby Jack cheese. Made with 2 gallons of Colby and 2 gallons of Jack.
Pepper Jack made with my garden jalapenos.
Isabella eating fresh cheddar curds and playing with cheese molds.
Making two 4 lb cheeses. Each of these pots is 20 quarts and filled with 4 gallons of milk.