You may think that cheese making is a laborious process that requires years of knowledge and effort, but what very few people know is that making a delicious healthy homemade batch is a perfect beginner’s project that can take as little as one hour. Choosing the best cheese making kit can lead to a healthier, more affordable, and easily giftable relationship with dairy.
The following recommendations are perfect for cheese making for beginners and also for those who want an opportunity to experiment with different varieties without needing to purchase a costly amount of equipment. Take a peek at my top suggestions as well as some guidelines to consider to help you get started!
- The Big Cheese Making Kit Most comprehensive kit
- The Big Vegan Cheese Making Kit Best kit for vegans
- Standing Stone Farms Basic Beginner Cheese Making Kit Most affordable kit
- Standing Stone Farms Ultimate Cheese Making Kit Best kit for cheese variety
- DIY Goat Cheese Kit Best kit for chevre lovers
*If you’re in a hurry, I’d recommend the Big Cheese Making Kit as the best one. This kit will allow you to make up to 40 batches of up to ten different kinds of cheeses, includes all of the necessary equipment to get started. It comes in a beautiful contemporary box that makes it a great gift for yourself or a loved one.
The Big Cheese Making Kit
This mammoth kit has it all, from several cheese-making options to contemporary design, to the capacity to produce up to 40 batches of the good stuff. This kit has ingredients that will allow you to make mozzarella, ricotta, mascarpone, Cypriot style cheese, greek style cheese, Scottish crowdie, labner, goat’s cheese, paneer, and queso blanco. These are all fresh cheeses, meaning they won’t require additional materials and time for aging, making them all great options for beginners and fast to produce.
The kit also comes with dried basil, cinnamon powder, lemon pepper, spearmint, and paprika. These herbs will allow you to experiment with modifying the flavors of each cheese and creating your perfect custom batch.
Vegetarians can rest assured that this product only uses enzymatic microbial coagulant as their rennet, which is completely vegetarian.
Directions and recipes are very straightforward in this kit, however, make sure to read through them well enough before getting started so you don’t feel rushed by the process and have a good idea of what to expect.
The Big Vegan Cheese Making Kit
This kit is a vegan spin on the above-mentioned product, making it an excellent option for those who abstain from animal products or are lactose intolerant. This kit can produce up to 20 batches of the following vegan cheeses: mozzarella, ricotta, mascarpone, cypriot style, greek style, and parmesan.
This kit comes with a couple of different ingredients since it is vegan, such as agar, tapioca flour, and nutritional yeast. You’ll need to provide nuts and a plant-based milk to make your cheese.
This kit also allows you to incorporate dairy-like flavors and textures into baked goods and home cooking. For example, the accompanying recipe book has recipes for Ricotta icing and fried halloumi with a caper salad.
Standing Stone Farms Basic Beginner Cheese Making Kit
Standing Stone Farms is a small Irish-themed boutique dairy farm that was established in 2006 by Paula Butler and her children who still work for the company today. They value the culture of cheese making education as much as they do the products themselves.
The personal touch of this brand shines through in their guide and recipe booklet that comes with the kit. Their guide to cheese making covers topics such as an equipment list, cheese making basics, and recipe alternatives. This is great for a beginner or experimenter that wants to feel supported and confident with lots of written materials. Their website also features a wealth of information to help you learn a little more about the process.
This kit has the ingredients necessary to start making soft and semi-soft cheeses such as mozzarella, chevre, goat cheese, queso blanco, queso fresco, mascarpone and ricotta. This includes a liquid microbial rennet, calcium chloride, non-GMO food grade citric acid, cheese salt, and a reusable cheese draining cloth.
You’ll have enough materials to turn about 25 to 30 gallons of milk into cheese. Most recipes call for 1 to 3 gallons. You’ll want to make sure you have a stainless steel pot and fine mesh strainer purchased separately to complete this kit.
Standing Stone Farms Ultimate Cheese Making Kit
This kit takes the Standing Stone Farms Cheese Making Kit one step further by including cultures (lipase and mesophilic cultures) that will allow you to make mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, monterey jack, feta, goat, curds, cream cheese, cultured butter, queso blanco, queso fresco, and mascarpone. If you use several different milks (such as cow, goat, and sheep) there are almost 100 possible cheese variations in this one kit alone!
DIY Goat Cheese Kit
This smaller but ingredient-packed cheese making kit is a perfect set for someone who wants to focus on one type of cheese for more manageable learning and experimentation. Each kit includes an instruction booklet, 2 small french cheese molds, fine mesh cheesecloth, a thermometer, non-iodized flake salt, and a thermometer. You’ll need to provide the goat milk. The shelf life of this kit is much longer than others, up to five years. This is perfect for those who want the occasional project or who make cheese on the holidays or special occasions.
Urban Cheese Craft stands out from other companies by offering unlimited email support for customers. This will help you to make sure you have customized support instead of combing through reviews and forums looking for solutions for your cheesemaking.
Reasons To Make Cheese
It’s Fun And Rewarding
Like most other homesteading processes mentioned on this site, I believe that cheese making is an empowering and growth-giving process that serves as a wellness practice when implemented in the home. We tend to better enjoy and savor homemade cheese, meaning that we can have a higher quality culinary experience than grabbing some cheese from the grocery shelf. You can also customize your cheese, adding flavors and textures that you most prefer.
There won’t be any suspicious additives
Many cheeses in the store contain additives, artificial colors, and preservatives. When you make cheese at home, you’re able to control the process and are aware of every ingredient. All of the cheese making kits mentioned in this article are GMO-free and primarily sourced in the United States.
Purchasing a cheese making kit as well as the dairy needed to make cheese is much less expensive than buying artisanal cheese at the store. Once you invest in the basic supplies your overhead cost will be pretty low. You can expect to be paying only a 5th to a 10th of the price that you normally would at the grocery store, depending on your specific ingredients and the size of your batches.
It’s a great family activity
As is the case with most homesteading activities, cheese making can be a great activity for your family. It can be a great way to learn together with children and to even practice math and science principles to keep the little ones engaged. Homemade cheese and butter also makes a great gift during birthday and holiday times.
Cheese Making Basics
It’s important to understand the process of cheese making to choose the best kit for yourself. Here are some of the main “elements” that make up the process:
Steps For Making Your Cheese
- Use fresh warm milk
- Add acid (citric acid for cheese making) to your milk
- Add a coagulant such as rennet to your milk
- Let the milk firm up into a curd and cut it
- Stir, cook, and wash your curd
- Salt and/or age your cheese
Cheese can be made from goat, cow, and sheep’s milk, as well as from non-dairy sources with the proper ingredients. Make sure that your milk is not ultra-pasteurized. Pasteurization may inhibit the fermentation process that cheese making relies on. You’ll need to add calcium chloride to your milk, which returns calcium that was removed by the homogenization or pasteurization process. This isn’t needed if you’re working with raw milk.
You can use kosher salt, cheese salt, flake salt, or sea salt in your cheese. Make sure not to use iodized salt, which may interfere with the milk’s fermentation process.
Sterilizing Your Materials
It’s very important to make sure the bacterial cultures that make your cheese aren’t being contaminated by other bacteria on your equipment or in your home. You can sterilize your cheese making materials by placing them in a large bot and boiling them for 20 minutes. You can also look for a commercial sanitizer as well.
Cheese Making Tools
- 8, 12, or 16 quart stainless steel, enamel, or glass pot with a lid
- Fine Mesh Strainer
- Skimmer Spoon or Ladle
- Kitchen or curd knife
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Flour sack towels
- Kitchen towels (only used for cheesemaking)
- Parchment Paper
- Microwave safe bowl
How To Choose The Best Cheese Making Kit
When choosing the best cheese making kit for yourself or as a gift, you’ll want to first consider the supplies included in the kit. Basics of every cheese making kit will include rennet, salt, and citric acid. There may also be a spoon, thermometer, cheese cloth, and cheese mold in your kit as well. You’ll likely find instructions and/or recipe booklets in your kit as well.
When considering the cost of a kit, you’ll want to look at the cost of the unit itself. However, this number can be misleading if you’ll need to buy a lot of additional materials for the process. This may also take more time if you need to order extra items. Make sure you know exactly what your kit has in it and what else you will need before you make your purchase if you want to have the most efficient and affordable experience. Reading customer reviews will help you to decide based on real user experiences.
Finally, you’ll want to consider what kind of cheese you want to make. Certain kits will be able to produce a large variety of cheeses, while other ones will be specific to one type. For beginners, it may be best to focus on simple fresh cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta to get a hang of the process.
If you’ve made it all the way down here, congratulations, you are truly serious about starting a path towards home-cheese-mongering! Although it’s important to do research and understand the methodology of cheese making, it’s also important to get your hands dirty, purchase a kit, and get going! The only way to get the truly right homemade cheese is by experimenting, tweaking, and trying again. If you take small steps with simple cheeses and advance from there, the process will be more enjoyable than overwhelming.
Leave a comment below and let me know what kits have worked best for you!