It is not expensive to get started with cheese making. Most of the equipment you need is already available in most kitchens and the specialty items are fairly easy to make yourself.
Cheese cloth is made to drain the whey from the curds. There are many different qualities and fineness of the weave. I suggest you start with an all-round grade 50 or 60. That will work for most cheese recipes. You can always double it if you need something finer. It’s available at Amazon and you can get 45 sq.ft for around $10. You only really need 9 sq.ft to get started, but you might as well pay a few bucks more and get way more for the money. An alternative is to go to your local fabric store and see if they stock it.
You need a pot with a capacity to match the cheese sizes you will make and your mould. In average I get just slightly over 1 lbs of cheese per gallon of milk I use. I have a 7 inch mould and make 3 or 4 gallon batches. This will give me a 2″ or 3″ tall cheese.
The set in inexpensive and have 8, 12, 16 and 20 Quart Stockpots with Lids and Steamers. I use the 16 quart pot for my 3 gallon cheeses, and I stick it inside of the 20 quart pot, with water in as well, so the milk will be cooked in a water bath which is a major advantage to keep the temperature stability. I use the 20 quart for my 4 gallon cheeses. I put it on top of a smaller pot with an inch or two of water. That way I can heat the milk without the risk of burning the milk. Remember we are talking low temperatures for the milk, around 86 -110F.
A cheapo digital kitchen cooking thermometer will do.
Here is a picture of my setup.
It’s a small piece of cpvc pipe glued to a office metal clip. I have drilled a hole in the pipe so the thermometer probe just fit through, but will not go all the way through because of the indention where the wire is held in place. Many thermometers comes with a pot clip, so you wont have to do this. My setup is way better than the regular pot clips. It is never in the way, and if you hit it with the spoon while stirring, it will just bounce to the side and then back again.
I use the steamer part I have from a spaghetti cooker. Any cheap colander will do as long as it is big enough. You will also need a bowl for your colander, but again I use one of the pots from above.
Measuring Spoons and Cups
You most likely have a measuring spoon set and cups set in your kitchen. I will suggest to add this small measure spoon set as well as many recipes call for 1/8, 1/16 and even 1/32 or 1/64 of a tsp for some ingredients. (Click image to view on Amazon)
Long Knife to Cut the Curd
Any long kitchen knife will work.
I’m sure you have one already
With this equipment you can make cheeses with does not require to be pressed. This can be cheeses like farmers cheese or ricotta cheese, but many others as well.
Next post will be about cheese presses and moulds.