Cheese in a homemade cheese press

One of the things I wanted to try after getting a milk cow was make cheese! I was encouraged by Wardeh’s post at GNOWFGLINS on homemade raw cheddar cheese, so I tried it. I thought I didn’t have much to lose, after all I’m getting 4 gallons of milk a day. 😯 The first time I tried it, I over cooked the curd and it turned ‘corky’. That’s okay! I figured that out and tried again. The second time, all I can say is WOW. Sooooo good!

In one recipe, I started with 2 ½ gallons of milk and that turned into 2 ½ pounds of cheese. All the curds fit comfortably into my homemade cheese press.

Cheese presses are so expensive. I did a little research and decided we could make our own. Hubby made the frame for me. Do you recognize what the cheese mould is? It’s a hamburger press. I found it at the thrift store for 50 cents. I used a crayon to mark a grid on it and a soldering iron to melt the holes. The tray that collects the whey was also from the thrift store, also 50 cents. There are different styles of the same thing out there. Dh drilled a hole in the tray so the whey could flow out. I position a pail, sitting on a stool to catch the whey. A little basic but it works. The frame, dh made for me was made out of material we had, except for the dowel which was $3.40. Total cost of cheese press: $4.40

I can’t wait to try some different cheeses! I don’t know which ones yet, there are so many different kinds!

I’m sharing this post as part of Simple Lives Thursday, hosted by Diana @ A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, Annette @ Sustainable Eats, Alicia @ Culinary Bliss, Mare @ Just Making Noise and Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS

Making butter with a food processor

I keep my milk in gallon jars in the refrigerator. Our cow, Happy is keeping us well stocked! I skim the cream off after 24 hours. I don’t have a cream separator yet so I use a ladle and get as much of it as I can, then stir the rest of the cream back into the milk for drinking. We like to have a little cream in our milk anyway, it tastes better that way.

I skim the cream and ladle it into quart jars and keep refrigerated until I have 5 or 6 jars, then I pull the jars out of the fridge and leave it on the counter to sour for 2 days. You can make butter with fresh cream but souring it makes it taste better.  You can make butter with pasteurized cream, but you can’t sour it.  Either way, the cream must be room temperature before beginning to make butter.

Still cream

Butter and buttermilk

To churn, I pour 1 quart of cream into the food processor and turn it on. It takes only seconds, sometimes minutes for it to turn to butter. I pour off the buttermilk. It can be saved for baking. Then I add cold water to the butter, turn on the food processor for 5 seconds and then pour off the water. I repeat this washing step 5 or 6 times, until the water pours off clear. It’s important to remove all the buttermilk or else the butter will go rancid quickly.

Paddling out water

Now it’s time to paddle the water out of the butter. I found rinsing with cold water rather than just cool water, makes it easier to paddle the water out. It’s still a lengthy process, it takes about 5 minutes to get it all out. Turn the butter onto itself, as you would if you were kneading bread.

When all the water is out, (or most of it) add your salt to the butter. This enhances the taste and help preserve the butter. I add a rounding ¼ tsp of sea salt to the butter produced from one quart of cream. Start with less and taste it to make sure you haven’t over salted it. Work the salt into the butter well with the paddles.

Butter mould

I spoon the butter into small plastic containers and freeze them. Each of these make a ½ pound of butter. Once they’re frozen, I pop them out, wrap them with plastic and put them back in the freezer.

This is how I make butter. Seems to work for me. 🙂

Meet Happy!


She is our new milk cow! The name is kinda corny, I know. She’s a pure bred Jersey, 6 yrs old, and just the sweetest thing! Transportation went well. She drew attention from a few passersby as we drove with her head out the back of the trailer. 😆 Unloading was as easy as the loading! She’s a big puppy dog. Not at all what hubby expected but all that I had hoped and prayed for!

So far we’re getting 3 gallons of milk a day. It’s only been a day so I’m still figuring out how much we consume fresh, and what else I can do with it. It’s a wonderful problem to have!!

She needs some time to settle in. All these things are so strange to her, including me and my lack of milking skills. But I’m getting there. We had some wonderful friends come and show us how to milk last night and again this morning. Hubby had a try and our youngest son is interested in learning as well. 🙂 Such a blessing to me since this whole thing was my idea. I’ve been talking about getting a milk cow for YEARS so they should have been used to it. 😉

She’s in the barn for now but once she’s relaxed and content that this is ‘home’ then she’ll get go out on pasture and meet the calf.