How to Make American Cheese

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Most people consider making homemade American cheese one of the hardest cheeses to make, when actually it can be one of the simplest.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 gallon of whole milk (either cow or goat)
  • 1/2 cup of dry evaporated milk powder
  • 1 cup cultured buttermilk
  • 1/4 tablet of rennet
  • 1/4 teaspoon cheese coloring, if desired
  • Stainless steel stockpot
  • Long, thin knife
  • Cheesecloth
  • Cheese press

Mix Ingredients

  • Mix together the whole milk and the milk powder until all traces of the powder are dissolved. Add one cup of room temperature cultured buttermilk and let the mixture stand for one to two hours.

  • Dissolve 1/4 tablet of rennet into 1/4 cup cool water. Add this mixture to the ripened milk mixture. Allow the mixture to sit until the curds break cleanly when cutting with a knife or your finger. Cut into 1/4 inch cubes.

  • Heat the mixture to 86 degrees and hold at that temperature for 30 minutes. Slowly, over the next 30 minutes, raise the temperature to 104 degrees and hold it there for at least an hour.

  • Pour curds into a cheesecloth lined colander to drain. Add cheese or sea salt and cheese coloring at this point, if desired.

  • Wrap the warm curds with the cheesecloth and press with moderate pressure (15 to 20 pounds) in a cheese press. Turn often.

  • Remove from press after 24 hours and store in the refrigerator. This American cheese can be eaten immediately or stored up to two weeks or more in the refrigerator.

Tips & Warnings

  • After refrigerating for a day, this cheese can be sliced and served just like store bought American cheese.
  • Experiment with adding herbs, spices or peppers to the cheese just before pressing for a unique taste.

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