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Additives Used in Home Cheesemaking

There are many ingredients commonly used in cheesemaking recipes beyond milk, starter culture, and coagulant. What are these ingredients and what function do they perform in the cheesemaking process?

Common Additives in Home Cheesemaking

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is often needed when the milk used for cheesemaking has been pasteurized and/or homogenized. During processing, the chemical structure of milk is changed, sometimes drastically. Those changes include a slight decrease in calcium levels within the milk. Calcium is necessary for proper curd formation. By adding calcium chloride to the milk before adding the coagulant, calcium levels are restored.

Calcium chloride is commonly used in making some goat cheeses, which can have a less firm curd due to goat milk's natural homogenization. 

Our 1 oz bottle of calcium chloride contains enough to treat 45 gallons of milk.

Lipase Powder

Lipase is an enzyme called for in cheese recipes to create a stronger or sharper flavor in the cheese. It also helps to develop a distinctive aroma. Lipase powder is used often in Italian cheeses such as Parmesan Cheese, Provolone, and Fontina. 

We carry 3 varieties of lipase powder:


Annatto (cheese coloring)

Annatto is a form of food coloring used to lend the classic orange color to cheeses such as Colby and cheddar that was traditionally supplied by high butterfat content in milk. Annatto is harvested from the seeds of the achiote tree. It can be found in liquid, ground, or paste form. It has no affect upon the final flavor of the cheese.  

Annatto can be used as a cheese wash to create an attractive blush upon the rind of a cheese. It should be diluted with soft or distlled water and added to milk before calcium chloride and rennet. Avoid contact with salts.

Try our Double Strength Liquid Cheese Coloring in your next cheddar.


Sometimes called activated charcoal, ash is used primarily in softer cheeses to create an attractive rind, encourage beneficial mold growth, and hinder bad bacterial action. The ash can be mixed with salt and put into a designated salt shaker and carefully shaken onto the surface of the cheese, or it can be rubbed into the surface gently. Follow the usage and storage directions specified by the supplier.


Ready to Make Cheese at Home?

Learn more about techniques for adding these ingredients to milk during cheesemaking, then try these delicious cheese recipes using some of the additives above:

Glass pitcher of milk and a variety of cheeses on white background

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