At the risk of sounding like my entire life revolves around food, I did spend last weekend doing a fair few food related things.  We also did some family and sporting type activities, but I’ll spare you the details and just share the foodie things in today’s blog!


So what did we get up to?


First stop was the Junee Licorice and Chocolate factory for lunch at the Graze Restaurant.  This was really just an excuse to stop and stock up on our organic licorice and chocolate supplies whilst partaking in the worlds best hot chocolate.  Big call, but entirely truthful.  A mug completely coated in organic melted chocolate, filled with warm milk and topped with a marshmallow.  Heaven on a cold rainy winters day… or any day really. 🙂


Half the family stayed behind to make licorice and chocolate purchases whilst my mother-in-law (the queen of gluten free bread making) and I ventured to an Italian cheese-making course in Junee.  Our main goal was to learn how to make ricotta…  We managed to also get a few handy cheese making tips and stretch some mozzarella to boot!  Here’s a few things we picked up from the course.


The delicious warm ricotta we made in the cheese making course…

Making Cheese In Junee… Who Knew Making Ricotta Was So Easy?!

Turns out making ricotta is a terribly simple process… Warm up some milk to the right temperature, add salt, add citric acid, use a straining spoon to scoop out the curds, place curds in a basket to drain some more and voila… ricotta.  Warm, creamy and additive free.

I haven’t included quantities here because I don’t actually know them yet!  I was too busy watching to take notes on amounts of ingredients… From what I’ve read, you could easily substitute the citric acid for lemon juice or vinegar and get the same results…  So I am on a mission to make some cheese at home with a few different ingredients and I promise to post the recipe on my website once I’ve had a few successes at home.

Making mozarella involved a slightly different method.  A little fiddlier, more fickle in results and extra time and effort is needed, but the end result is fresh mozzarella or bocconcini ready for your pizza, pasta or salad.  Kids would love making this cheese as it’s rather hands on and messy, but it does require a bit of a  delicate touch, so perhaps leave a little aside for them to mess with…

Mozarella was made at a much cheese3lower temperature.  You added the ingredients before heating, then once heated, let it sit for a while to create the stretchy curds you cut and play with later.  Once the curds have formed (and a yellow whey results) you have to strain the curds, rewarm them in whey that’s heated to the right temperature, do a little fancy stretching and mushing into shape to get the stringy-ness texture and silky look, and then eat it fresh or allow it to sit for quite a few hours.  Definitely more work, but what kids (little or big) wouldn’t want fresh mozzarella on their pizza?!  And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that hard!

Special cheese making tips:

  • You don’t stir, you push the milk to warm it – moving the spatula from one side of the pan to the other.
  • Thermometers are mandatory – you are heating the milk to particular temperatures for different cheese and it makes it so much easier with a thermometer.
  • For the best results, use organic and unhomogenised milk – extra creamy cheese without the pesticides and all fats still present – necessary in the world of cheese making.
  • Having the right tools makes life simpler too.  There are cheese presses, ricotta baskets, thermometers and cheesecloth strainers, to name a few.  All of which could be substituted for other items in your house, but having a full kit just for making cheese would make it easier (see info at end of blog).
  • Amounts and ingredients are the key.  With the wonders of modern technology, particular methods for special cheeses can be obtained pretty easily.  The important things are having the right ingredients in the right amounts and at the right temperatures.  I’m currently experimenting with said ingredients and amounts, so stay tuned for all the right numbers to make it work for you the first time!

Why make your own cheese? 

As with all things homemade, a little time and patience is needed to create cheesy masterpieces, but it’s always worth the effort! After my experience at the course last weekend, here are 5 reasons I think you should have a go at making your own cheese… .


1.  It’s additive free

Well, my obvious first answer is that you can be sure you’re only eating additive free, fresh food when you make it yourself.  No colouring, no preservatives, no flavouring, and it hasn’t been sitting on a shelf forever.  Be careful of some cheese making kits you can buy – they may include colouring for cheddar cheese (to be American cheddar it has to be orange looking for some weird reason) and even in the wax coating for harder cheeses.

2.  It’s easy peasy

I love quashing myths about the laborious task of making food from scratch, and none have surprised me more than learning how easy it is to make ricotta!  For something that’s pretty hard to find on the shelf in a shop without preservatives (especially when living in the middle of nowhere), it’s laughable how quick you can whip up some ricotta and slightly annoying that I took so long to discover this pearl of wisdom and try it!  Yes, some other cheeses take a little more effort or time, but all are far easier than expected and well worth the effort.

3.  It’s a great family activity

Cheese making is a great way to get the kids involved, educate them on good foods and how food is made and enjoy food in all it’s forms.  It’s also great for increasing their mindfulness and appreciation of all that is involved in preparing and eating good food.

4.  It’s ready when you need it and has extra benefits with the whey

Having fresh cheese on hand is never a bad thing – it inspires new recipes, fresh eating and you don’t need a trip to the shops for supplies.  Plus, making any cheese produces a by-product – whey.  The benefits of whey are numerous (I mention some uses of whey in the cream cheese recipe link below).

5.  It’s delicious!

You can’t beat fresh homemade food, no matter what it is.  Cheese seems to be one of those things that multplies in yumminess when it’s homemade.  It’s creamier, it’s fresher, warm ricotta is to die for… I could go on, but I think you get the gist!

What’s next?

Similar to my recent gluten free bread making blog, where the queen of gluten free bread (my wonderful mother-in-law!) went through several failures to make it much easier for you to have a success the first time… I plan on churning through some basic cheese recipes (pardon the pun!), confirm all the right amounts, strategies and tips and fill you in with the end results – saving you the experimenting and failures and providing the successful outcomes on a silver platter… Sound like a plan?

In the meantime, check out my website for the easiest start to making cheese – a recipe on how to make your own cream cheese.  I didn’t learn this one at the cheese making class, it’s one I’ve used for a while and some of you probably know about already.  Super simple, additive free, creamy cream cheese.  A gazillion uses and takes no time or effort or special equipment.  Click here for the recipe.   The recipe includes some tips and ideas for using your homemade cream cheese, plus uses for the whey.  Click here for more ideas on how to use your homemade additive free fresh cream cheese! 

What other cheeses would you like to know how to make?  Drop me a line here, or post a message on Facebook with your favourite cheese and I’ll do my best to iron out the wrinkles before giving you the easy way to make it at home.

One last note – it’s also easy to make homemade yoghurt and butter… more on this later, and again, well worth it!

Happy cheese making!

Loren x

PS  The cheese making course we attended used Mad Millie Cheese Kits.  I am yet to get one and test it out, but I’m thinking of doing so as they have almost all you need in one handy kit.  That said, you don’t need a kit to do most cheeses, and they do sell the equipment and kit components separately if you’re after specific things. Will keep you posted!