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Sanitization during Cheesemaking
Making cheese relies largely on bacteria working to change and flavor the milk. But these bacteria must be the right kind of bacteria, from cheese cultures and fresh milk, not the bacteria found in or on unsanitary countertops, pots, bowls, or utensils. Causing a beneficial vs. harmful bacteria “war” in the milk introduces health risks and can cause the resulting cheese to be bland or underdeveloped, or just plain bad.
How Are Foreign Bacteria Introduced in Cheesemaking?
Most home cheesemaking failures can be attributed to one or more of the following:
While it may sound daunting, keeping your work area sanitized can greatly reduce the risk of contamination.
Sanitizing the Cheesmaking Work Area
Follow these few simple steps to clean and sanitize your work area:
Alternative to Sanitizing with Bleach
Bleach is by far the most efficient way to sanitize equipment. However, if using bleach is not an option, fill an atomizer with 1 cup of white vinegar, 3 cups of water and a few drops of lavender, tea tree, or peppermint essential oil.
Sanitizing Metal Pots and Utensils
Metal utensils are easy to sterilize by boiling. Follow these simple steps:
Sterilizing Non-metal Utensils
Anything else that needs to be sanitized but cannot be boiled, like plastic tools, can be sterilized as follows:
Sterilizing Cheesecloth and Butter Muslin:
Tips on Keeping a Clean Work Area for Cheesemaking:
These tips will help you maintain a clean, sanitary work area and keep your cheese healthy and happy.
By implementing a basic sanitization routine at the beginning of every cheese project and following simple rules during the cheesemaking process, you will be one step closer to assuring your ultimate success, resulting in a very tasty cheese.
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