Food & Drink

10 Cheesemaking Basics & a Gift You Can Make Now

From Claudia Lucero, author of One-Hour Cheese comes this list of must-have DIY cheese basics (ok, a couple are just for fun!). Stick to the list and you’ll be a cheese pro in no time!

1 stock pot1. Non-Reactive Stock Pot
This inexpensive stainless steel pot is surprisingly sturdy, doesn’t give acidified milk a metallic taste and has an adequately thick base to prevent milk scorching.

2. Vegetarian Rennet Tablets
Using good rennet is imperative for DIY cheese success. These tablets make it easy and because they’re vegetarian, a mixed crowd can enjoy your cheeses.

3. Fine-Meshed Cheesecloth
This fine, re-usable cheesecloth will catch even the smallest curds (like those in Chèvre French Kisses and Meyer Lemon Ricotta) giving you the best yield.

2 collander4. Enamel-Coated Colander
A large colander is needed for 1 gallon batches and this one is lined with enamel which is heat safe and cleans easily- both important when making cheese.

5. Measuring cups
It’s a must to measure vinegar and lemon juice accurately but you don’t have to use boring measuring cups.

6. Cheese Board
Bamboo makes a great basic cheese board because it is hard, thereby limiting nooks and crannies where cheese smears can hide despite washing.

7. Custom Cheese Markers
It’s fun to name your homespun cheeses (Smoky Cheater or Triple Pepper Hack anyone?) and with these custom cheese markers you can make the name official.

3 slicer8. Fruit Slicer
You can’t go wrong with a juicy pear or apple as a cheese pairing but slicing fruit thinly with this slicer elevates the experience and crunch.

9. One-Hour Cheese
This fun and lively book can make a cheese maker out of anyone with the help of step-by-step photos for 16 mouth-watering cheeses, pairings and more.

10. DIY Cheese Kit
Urban Cheesecraft’s Mozzarella & Ricotta DIY Cheese Kit or Deluxe DIY Cheese Kit provide the ideal ingredients for One Hour Cheese recipes.

© Lucy Schaeffer

© Jeff Norombaba

A Cheesy Gift: Marinated Mozzarella


A lovely jar of these mouthfuls makes an impressive host gift!

STEP 1 Make a batch of Melty Mozzarella from One-Hour Cheese and shape into bocconcini (“little mouthfuls” or bites). If you are truly time-challenged, you can also make this with store-bought Mozzarella.

STEP 2 Toss 1 cup of bites in 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 minced clove of garlic, ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper or red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon sea salt and 2 tablespoons of fresh torn basil (or a couple of pinches of dry oregano).

STEP 3 Combine well and pack in a nice glass jar. Allow the bites to marinate for at least 4 hours but 24 ideally.

Add a nice ribbon and homemade label and you’re ready to win a cheese lover’s heart.

Click here for more ideas on how to wrap the homemade cheese gift.