Making goat’s cheese in Summer 2022

I can’t remember the last time I made cheese but it was a long time ago, sometime in the pre-COVID era and possibly as long as 5 years ago.

Making cheese in the summer with higher temperatures is difficult and more challenging but it is possible if you have an effective method of cooling the pasteurised milk and keeping the cheese cool afterwards. An ideal temperature would be around 15ºC.

Over the years, I have posted a number of blog posts about how I made cheese. The idea behind this post is to summarise all of these previous posts and to provide the definitive method and procedure.



  • 1.25 teaspoons dried rennet
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Mix the above ingredients together in a small glass and leave until needed.



We have an old chest freezer from the time when we lived in the Calle Boli in the Sacromonte in Granada. John has set it up with a thermostat so that the temperature will not fall below a certain set temperature with the possibility of being on either for 24 hours or only when the sun is strong enough. Thanks to the thermal blocks at the bottom of the freezer, the temperature is maintained constantly throughout the night if it is not on all the time.



I use Manchego cheese moulds and have a variety of different sizes (15cm diameter, 17.5cm diameter and 19.5cm). It is useful to know the weight of the empty moulds (without the lids) for calculating the amount of salt to add. The 15cm mould weighs 575g, the 17.5cm mould weighs 715g and the 19.5cm mould weighs 865g when empty.



Once the cheese in the mould, it needs to be pressed to remove as much liquid as possible from the curds. Over the years, I have tried and tested all manner of cheese press, from shop-bought ones to home-made contraptions. My favourite one at the moment is the simplest of all and consists of a grooved board with two hooks, a square piece of wood with a groove in the top and a short bungee cord. The square piece of wood fits snugly into the top of the mould and applies even pressure to the cheese.



The first point I’d like to make is that temperature is key throughout the cheese-making process and the curing period. If the ambient temperature is too hot and the cheese is not kept at a constantly cool temperature, it will start to ferment and expand.


If you are able to get hold of unpasteurised milk, you should pasteurise it before making cheese. Apparently, cheese made with unpasteurised milk or “raw milk” is safe to eat after 45-60 days when there is no longer any danger of listeria, the cause of Listeriosis, a serious and possibly fatal disease. However, I think it is better to be safe than sorry and now I always pasteurise the milk.

The pasteurisation process is not complicated and consists in heating the milk to a high temperature: the slow method raises the temperature to 63°C (150°F) for 30 minutes, and the rapid method raises the temperature to 72°C (162°F) for 3 minutes. It is a good idea to use a thermometer with a sensor so you can see what the temperature is without having to remove the lid.

Once you have pasteurised the milk, you want to cool it as quickly as possibly and one way to do this is to place the pan in a sink with running cold water. I transferred the milk back to the plastic 5-litre containers which are more manageable and put them in the freezer. It took a couple of hours to bring the temperature of the milk down to 34ºC. A temperature range of 34ºC to 38ºC is ideal. The next stage is to add the rennet.


I use powdered artificial rennet that you can buy from the chemist or pharmacy. I mix the rennet, salt and water in a small glass and stir well until completely dissolved. I use a slatted spoon to sprinkle the rennet/salt mixture over the milk and stir well to make sure that it has been thoroughly mixed. I cover the pan and leave for 60 minutes.


The next step is to test for a clean cut. As the rennet begins to act, the curds will form and separate from the whey. I insert a long palate knife vertically into the cheese pan and make a single cut. If there is a clean cut with a clear distinction between the curds and the whey, the curds are ready. It is fairly obvious if you have a clean cut as the curds will be white and the whey yellow. If there is not, then leave it for another 30 minutes or 60 minutes depending on how clean the cut is.

When you reach a clean cut, you are ready to cut the curds.


I use a long palate knife to cut the curds. You want to make a series of vertical cuts about an inch apart through the curds and then another series of vertical cuts at 90 degrees. You can also cut at 45º to ensure that the curds have been uniformly cut.


I went a large cheesecloth and use it to line a large, sturdy colander. Using the slatted spoon, I transfer the cut curds to the colander, using a swirling movement to remove as much of the whey as possible. I tie up all four corners of the cheesecloth and hang it over the sink to drain off as much whey as possible.


I wring out another cheesecloth and use it to line the mould. I then add the curds, pressing them down gently with a spatula. I put on the mould top, fold the remaining cloth around the central part and put the mould in the cheese press.


I leave the curds in the mould and the cheese press on a large circular, china plate in the cool fridge/freezer for an hour. I then take out the block of curds and remove the cheesecloth. I flip the the block and place it back in the mould and return to the cheese press and put it back in the fridge freezer and leave in the press for another 12 hours (or overnight).

This time, I was making two cheeses with 20 litres in two 1.5kg moulds. In the morning, I rinsed off the cheese press boards and poured off any excess whey. I used one of the cheeses in its mould and circular china plate to apply pressure to the other cheese. I left this in place for 12 hours and then swapped them round so that the bottom one was now applying pressure to one that had been on top.


I sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the top of both cheeses and placed them back in the fridge freezer without the tops.I left them in the fridge/freezer for another 24 hours. I then removed the cheese from the mould, flipped it over and put in on a wooden board with a plastic mesh. The cheese will still lose liquid so I put it in a slightly larger plastic container. I then sprinkled the remaining salt over the other side. I put the cheese in the fridge.


As the cheese has been made with pasteurised milk, it is possible to eat the cheese whenever you like after only a few days. At this stage of the process the cheese is known as “queso fresco” and salt is only added to enhance the flavour of the cheese.

For matured cheese, however, salt is fundamental for the curing process and helps to preserve the cheese for longer.

It is important not to use iodized salt as this acts as a disinfectant and can hinder the curing process.

The salt can be added at two moments in the cheese-making process: 1. before the curds are put in the mould; 2: once the cheese has been pressed. In either case, it is necessary to weigh the curds to calculate how much salt needs to be added.

In either case, the amount of salt to add is calculated at approximately 3%–4% of the weight of the curds.


Once the curds have been removed from the whey, it is possible to make ricotta or requesón. All you need to do is heat the whey up to boiling point and then skim off the floating ricotta. You can drain the ricotta until you reach your desired consistency.

Conclusions about Cheesemaking 2013

2013 Cheese-making conclusions

2013 Cheese-making conclusions

Having given up the search for a hole-free cheese (see post), I have decided to make a note of things I have learned during this season’s cheese-making.

  1. Regarding the size of cheese mould needed, around 5 litres of milk is good for a 1kg mould, 10 litres would be good for a 1.5kg mould and 15 litres is good for a 2kg mould.
    NOTE TO SELF: Buy a 1.5kg mould so that I can make cheese every two days.
  2. During the height of summer, the most difficult thing is to keep the milk from going off. I’ve replaced the glass shelf at the bottom of the fridge with a custom-made stainless steel version after it broke under the weight of the milk containers. Although the 2kg mould needed about 15 litres of milk (3 days’ milking), it was not possible to keep the milk for so long in the fridge without it going off which was why I experimented with freezing the milk. I think in the future, it would be better to make a small 1.5kg cheese every two days.
  3. I’ve found that the ideal pressure is 10kg for the first pressing as this is just enough to press the curds but not so much that they are squeezed out of the mould. I line the inside of the mould with cheesecloth and add the curds. I then press them at 10kg for 30 minutes before removing the cloth and turning the cheese. I then press the cheese with 15kg for 12 hours.

Cheese-making: the pursuit of perfection and embracing the holy cheese

Cheese experiments

Cheese experiments

I have never managed to make a cheese without holes so in my unending quest to find the cause of the problem and to make the perfect cheese, I’ve been carrying out a series of experiments to see if I can remedy the situation.

I reckon that the problem could be influenced by any of the following factors: milk temperature, amount of rennet, amount of pressure or ambient temperature.

My original cheese-making technique was to heat the goat milk to 28-30ºC before adding the rennet. Once a clean cut had been achieved, I would then slowly heat the milk to 38ºC.
1. The first experiment was to heat the milk to 34ºC, add the rennet, cut the curds after the clean cut and heat to 38ºC. This didn’t seem to make any difference whatsoever.
2. The second experiment was to heat the milk to 38ºC, add the rennet, wait for the clean cut, cut the curds and then leave them to settle to the bottom of the pan. The difference in this case was that the curds were softer than normal but it made absolutely no difference tot he finished cheese.

I normally use 1.25ml of powdered rennet to 5 litres of milk but some people on Internet say that holy cheese could be caused by too much rennet. The instructions on the back of the rennet pot actually say that 0.01ml of rennet should be used to each litre of milk. Too much rennet is a bad thing and can make a cheese which squeaks on your teeth but I wanted to see what would happen if I used less than I normally do. Normally, it takes 45-60 minutes for the milk to achieve a clean cut but when I used less rennet it took about 2 1/2 hours. Apparently it can take as long as 3 hours to achieve a clean cut. Once again there was absolutely no difference in the finished cheese.

I started this cheese-making season by applying pressure of 5kg for 30 minutes, 10kg for another 30 minutes and finally 15kg for the final 30 minutes.
1. I decided to change the pressure to 10kg-15kg-20kg
This didn’t make any difference to the final cheese but is the pressure that I will use in the future.
2. I tried doubling the amount of final pressure: 10kg-20kg-30kg
The cheese still expanded in the press and had the additional problem of an unstable stack of weights on top.
In conclusion, I don’t think that the pressure makes much of a difference.

Unfortunately, there is not much I can do about this but I think this is what is causing the problem. I therefore think it’s a good idea to make the cheese early in the morning, and get it into the fridge as soon as possible. I have also started applying a 2kg weight on top of the salted cheese in the fridge to stop it expanding.

All things considered, I’ve decided to embrace my cheese’s holiness wholeheartedly and join the ranks of Dutch and Swiss cheeses.

Cheese press

home-made cheese press

Home-made cheese press

Originally, I started making cheese using a fruit press but the problem was that it didn’t apply a constant pressure and I would have to wait for the mass of curds to release the liquid before tightening the press further.

I therefore looked on Internet to see if there were any home-made versions and there were plenty. This one is easy to make and I found it on the Fiasco Farm website.

materials for the cheese press

Materials for the cheese press

To make the press, you need:
2 wooden boards measuring 30cm x 30cm
4 dowel rods (40cm long and 2cm diameter)
4 washers
4 stainless steel base supports
4 stainless steel screws
2cm drill spade bit
3cm drill spade bit

Drill 4 holes (3cm diameter) in each corner of one of the boards with the 3cm spade bit.
Drill another 4 holes (2cm diameter) in each corner of the other board with the 2cm spade bit. It is important that the holes match up.

Screw the base support on each of the lengths of dowel rod, with a washer between the rod and the screw.
I use the bottom part of my original fruit press to press the cheese and place 5kg weights on the press. For the first 30 minutes, I press the cheese with 5kg, for the second 30 minutes I use 10kg and for the final 30 minutes I use 15kg.

Base support

Base support

Ricotta Cheese

making ricotta cheese

Making ricotta cheese

Ricotta is a low-fat, spreadable cheese made by reheating the whey once you have removed the curds for pressing into cheese. The word Ricotta is Italian for recooked. While some prefer it mixed with sugar and then spread on bread, others season it with salt and pepper and use it as a savoury spread.

I had tried making ricotta cheese before but had never had much luck. So I decided to look on Internet to see what temperature the whey should be heated to. I discovered that 94ºC – just below boiling point – was the magic temperature.

It is important not to let the whey boil as this will toughen the curds.

Heat the whey on a medium heat to 94ºC. Once it the liquid has reached this temperature, the creamy curds will float to the top of the pan.

Straining the ricotta cheese

Straining the ricotta cheese

Skim off the curds into a piece of muslin. I used a jam bag and stand and a fine-meshed sieve.

How long you leave the cheese to drain for will depend on how firm you want the finished cheese to be. After a couple of hours, the cheese was still quite moist and spreadable. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, added some lemon zest and chives and mixed well and it was delicious.

ricotta3The colour of the whey changes drastically once the curds have been removed and it almost looks greenish.