Friday, April 15, 2011

Cheese making economics.

Is it more economical to make your own cheese at own home (as opposed to buying it)?

I made this a couple of times before I purchased my cheese making kit with Giffy (regular commentator here).  You need milk and citric acid or vinegar.  You heat the milk, add the acid, cook for a couple more minutes, leave to cool down, strain and chill.  Cost:  about $5.  Cheaper than the supermarket ($10) need to make a few hours ahead.  I use it mixed with a little icing sugar (and once with a little cocoa and icing sugar) for a grown up cake icing.

Milk, citric acid, salt.  I've made a couple of times and it is a lot cheaper than the supermarket.  It would cost around $5 for what costs around $12 in the supermarket. It is very rich, so if cooking with it (like pizza for example) you only need a tiny amount.

The Mad Millie cheesemaking kit I bought first was $39.95 and contains recipes and ingredients to make marscapone, ricotta (including draining basket), ricotta salata and mozzarella.  I don't think that I would have tried making ricotta or mozzarella without the kit, and I'd never heard of ricotta salata before!


I needed the kit to make this - the instructions, rennet and calcium chloride are not stuff I have lying around the house.  Using four litres of milk I made enough about seven largish mozzarella balls - enough to top a lasagna, and break over four individual pizzas today.  I think one got eaten by itself as well.  To buy that much mozzarella would probably cost about $15-20 at the supermarket (but I did use about $9.  This was the most satisfying cheese that I've made - the process is just so fun.  I would probably never buy mozzarella balls, but breaking them over homemade pizza dough with my daughter was lots of fun.  I think an afternoon of pizza dough making and cheese making followed by pizza eating could be a very worthwhile activity.

The Italian cheeses kit is very worthwhile then for the occasional cheesemaker as the kit (including recipes) will save a fair amount of money over time.  I think I could make about 15 lots of mozzarella before needing more rennet or calcium chloride.

Light Cream cheese

This uses the 'fresh cheeses' kit, which comes with my absolute favourite thing in the world: spores!!  You know how cream cheese costs heaps (I once wanted to make a cheesecake for a dinner party but couldn't fathom spending $12 on cream cheese alone).  Well this kit made enough cream cheese for a smallish cheesecake.  It was dead simple (milk, spores and rennet) and so awesome cool to watch progress.  If you used a lot of cream cheese (and I've taken to using it as a savoury item as well) you could make back your money on purchasing the fresh cheese kit after about six batches.


The feta was really, really fun to make.   A little goes a long way.  This cheese is also good because you can freeze it (makes it a bit crumblier).  I froze it, then used it in a pastry tart with caramelised onion.  Looked pretentious, tasted awesome.   

Halloumi, quark, cottage cheese and 'french style' cream cheese.

Yet to make so can't comment on the costs.


Like most things you buy, the more you use it the better value you get for the item.  I've made enough cheese from the Italian Cheese kit to have paid for itself, and continue to use the equipment that came with it.  The fresh cheese kit I can't comment on quite yet as I've only made the cream cheese.  I'd like to have a go making the feta - I can see a feta and caramelised onion tart as a dinner party treat sometime soon.

I did think that all the leftover whey was a bit wasteful, until I learned that it can be used to make whey ricotta, in bread or scones instead of water and in smoothies or stock.  It is even great on the garden!!  So not as wasteful as I first thought.

For me it is a little bit liking playing at science as well (I got to use a pipette!)- the satisfaction from doing something so novel, and the deliciousness of very fresh cheese is great.  I love going round encouraging people with how easy it is, and am very, very keen to move on and try the Camembert kit!!


  1. The whey scones I made with our marscapone water were *lovely*. I think you could also use in pancakes/pikelets?

  2. Nice idea. I know a friend of mine was constantly wondering what to do with all her leftover whey (and was getting sick of just putting it into scones). I must ask her ideas - particularly about mozarella because she has made it heaps of times.