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I tried to make hard cheese from raw milk by a common recipe: heating milk to about 190 F, then adding vinegar to curdle. However, I faced three issues:

  1. Different recipes suggest 1/4 - 1/8 cup of vinegar for one gallon of milk, but in my case, the milk does not curdle with less than 1/2 cup for a gallon of milk.

  2. The cheese produced is very soft. When I try to squeeze the cheesecloth (even think and double layer), the cheese is coming out of the cheesecloth pores. Then, I cannot remove more water from the cheese to make hard cheese.

  3. When I separate the whey, it still contains cheese, and after heating the whey, it produces a lots of cheese (even more than the first step).

Is there anything wrong with my method?

The cheese produced is quite good, and I just cannot go further to make hard cheese. A possible source of problem can be the size of my curds in the milk suspension, which is smaller than those shown in the vidoes posted on the internet (not forming big lumps; but I have no idea what can be the reason.

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Have you tried using a towel for squeezing out the liquid? –  Mien Jul 13 '13 at 9:05
@Mien no, shouldn't it problematic to catch the cheese from rough towel fabric? I will give it a try! –  All Jul 13 '13 at 10:56
Are you renneting at all? It is nearly impossible to make a hard cheese without the use of rennet to coagulate the curd. –  Didgeridrew Jul 13 '13 at 13:41
@All I wouldn't use a rough towel (terry cloth), usually food is strained in a smooth tea towel. –  sourd'oh Jul 13 '13 at 15:47
I have never heard of a normal hard cheese made with acid, but I have made very hard paneer (haloumi-like in hardness) by oversqueezing the curds. I just used a fine towel and twisted it as much as I could. I must say that the result wasn't especially tasty, it was bland and the texture didn't fit much. You could try it this way, but I guess that the reason traditional hard cheese is made with rennet and ripening is because that's what makes good cheese. –  rumtscho Jul 13 '13 at 16:17

2 Answers 2

Hard cheese usually uses rennet, and a mechanical cheese press to extract as much whey as possible, and usually a long aging (drying) time to make it hard.

I think there may be a discrepancy between the original poster's definition of "hard" cheese and what is generally known as hard cheese like Grana Padano, Cheddar, and others.

The process the OP is describing sounds like how one would make fresh paneer, and "hard" in this case might be more like the texture of "firm" tofu.

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Use more vinegar for a firmer cheese. 3/4 cup or more.

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This does not make sense. You haven't related the amount of vinegar to the amount of milk. More importantkly, the firmness of the cheese is limited by the amount of milk protein that can be coagulated, and the expressing of the whey. Adding more vinegar will not change either of these factors. –  SAJ14SAJ Feb 19 '14 at 13:01

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