I love easy, home made cheese, especially when I can get the milk for it.
I prefer to get 'farm fresh' milk, but when that isn't easily acquired, I buy it in the organic section of my local super market. Please keep in mind that you can't get 'raw' milk as easily as you could years ago (unfortunately, it is illegal to sell in a lot of states). Most of us have to settle for pasteurized, farmer's market milk and/or what is available for purchase organically.
This recipe, when followed correctly, will yield about 10 - 12 ounces of semi-soft cheese. If this is your first time making a cheese of any kind, resist the urge to flavor it up. Wait to experiment with flavoring a cheese after you can make a good cheese. A good cheese (for this type) is soft to semi-soft, sliceable and/or easily crumbled.
a 4 quart stock pot (not copper or cast iron as these are reactive metals that will turn your cheese bad colors)
medium - large colandar
new package of food grade cheese cloth
candy thermometer or meat thermometer
large bowl (2 - 3 quart bowl is okay, but you want to make sure that the colander will rest on top of the bowl (so the bowl opening need to be at tad smaller than the top of the colander. The collection bowl should also be significantly deeper than the colander so it can collect the whey.)
large spoon - wood, bamboo, plastic
ball of cotton string or yarn (binder's twine would be ok, too)
place to hang your cheese from while it is draining
kitchen timer (or other timer that you can hear or see)
1/2 gallon raw or pasteurized sheep milk (goat milk will work too) *NOTE: DO NOT use ultra-pasteurized or double pasterized milk!!
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (and/or 1 tbsp of white cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp freshly ground sea salt (table salt will do if you don't have a mill or sea salt)
optional: 1/2 pint of fresh cream (again, pasteurized ok, but NOT ultra-pasteurized) This is optional because the sheep or goat milk you're using will not always have an optimal amount of cream. Also, some people prefer a lower fat cheese.
optional: brand new pair of rubber gloves that have been scoured and set aside
about 3 - 4 hours of time
Step 1: Slowly Heat the Milk and Salt.
Place the 4 quart pot on the stove and pour the 2 quarts of sheep or goat milk into it. Make sure to use a rubber scraper to get all of the cream into the pan as well.
Add the 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp of sea salt.
Turn heat up to about medium to medium high. It should take about 1/2 hour to slowly heat the milk to 185F.
Watch over it so it does not boil and periodically check the temperature.
Do NOT leave the thermometer in the pan.
Turn off the heat when the milk has reached 185F.