I met Sean while square lashing a bamboo shelter at a Georgia Bushcraft campout a few years back. His engineer mind coupled with grunt work from the rest of us created a semi-permanent base camp shelter for our large group campouts and classes. The shelter seems to expand with every campout.
Besides the “manly” bushcraft skills he owns, Sean develops what some call “soft skills.” Below is his first attempt at a delicious soft skill, making his own gouda cheese.
He graciously allowed me to republish a portion of his article since we are all about Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance here. Enjoy!
by Sean Begley
This article describes my first attempt at making cheese. I picked up a copy of Cheesemaking Made Easy: 60 Delicious Varieties from the local library for instruction. Most (all?) of the recipes start with 2 gallons of whole milk and end up creating 2 lbs of cheese. The shopping lists and instructions below are for creating 2 lbs of Gouda from 2 gallons of supermarket whole milk.
Before you Start Gathering Material
- The author points out, specifically, that aluminum cookware should not be used as it can impart a taste to the cheese.
- A good thermometer is very important. The cheese making process appears to be sensitive to temperature.
- Use a glass bowl for the brining process. I had a couple of spots of oxidation form in my stainless steel bowl.
- 12qt stainless steel pot
- stainless steel ladle
- stainless steel curd knife
- I bought a 14″ but a 12″ would be fine for a 12qt pot
- Also sold as an “icing spatula”
- Amazon.com link
- stainless steel food thermometer
- glass bowl
- used for brining
- should be able to hold 1 gallon of liquid
- cheese cloth
- I don’t think the grade really matters too much for this recipe.
- cheese press
- You can build one of these for pretty cheap
- I’ll talk about it below.
- cheese drying board
- Can be made pretty easily.
- Discussed with the cheese press.
- (optional) 10 gallon pot for steam sanitizing your cheese press
- (optional) propane patio stove for the 10 gallon pot
- 2 gallons of whole (vitamin D) milk
- 1.25 lbs of course salt
- cheese rennet tablets
- do NOT use junket rennet tables as they sell to make ice cream
- can use rennet liquid instead
- can be bought off Amazon.com
- mesophilic cheese starter culture
- can be bought off Amazon.com
The Cheese Press
It is necessary to use some kind of cheese press to press excess liquid (whey) out of our cheese. The book referenced several types of presses including 1 that is pretty simple to make at home. I opted to build a version of the home cheese press and you can see the results below. If you build a similar press, the book states that well seasoned hardwoods are ideal materials and specifically calls out birch and maple. I made my press and cheese board out of birch plywood from the hardware store.
Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,
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