Lately I am having several requests a week in the shop for cheese making equipment. I guess we are going to have to get some stock in. I am wondering how popular this is right now in general. Any of you into it? I have made paneer which does not require much but milk, a thermometer, lemon juice and cheese cloth. Out side of a source for rennet is there something I should be looking to stock. My customers have been kind of vague about what it is they want.
Hi Candy - I'm not sure what kind of shop you have, but I go to a local homebrew shop to get my cheesemaking supplies, and I know they do a great business with it, because they are the only place in the area that sells the stuff. Here's some of what they have:
cheese wax (blocks to be melted)
wax brushes (to brush the wax on molded cheese, like cheddar)
cheese molds and cheese presses (for hard cheeses, like cheddar, and shaped cheeses, like brie and blues)
rennet tablets and liquid rennet
citric acid (in powdered form)
cheese salt (flakier than regular salt)
and a couple varieties of meso- and thermophilic starters (in their fridge case)
Their most popular cheesemaking item is the New England Cheesemaking Supply company's Mozzarella (and Ricotta) Starter Kit. It's a box that contains everything (except the milk and a large pot) to make both cheeses. If your customers are looking to just get started, you could sell these (as picawicca mentions, it's an excellent starter kit). But if you offer the more advanced cheesemaking stuff, you might find a lot of new customers coming out of the woodwork. I used to have to order a lot online, but I absolutely prefer being able to just go pick them up as I need them.
I've started mozzarella making at home. The hardest things to fin were:
Ordered the first online, got the second at a local farmer's market and I got a health store to order the third. It's what makes the mozzarella stretchy.
You also get cultures(mesophilic and thermophilic), which give cheese its flavour. I'd think it's a good idea to stock those, since anything beyond fresh cheeses need it. Even mozzarella is supposed to benefit from it.
I'd also get a couple ricotta baskets, and maybe a small cheese press or two. The easiest thing would be to get little kits and just sell those.
Is a great resource for cheese making recipes for beginners. There are various cultures you can stock for different sorts of cheeses, molds *biological and otherwise*, cheese presses etc. If I ever get a better source of milk than my local supermarket I'd probably add cheese making to my other homesteader activities.
My sister (she's in Seattle) has decided that she and her friends will be doing this and, if it works out, maybe even making "something" for everyone for the holidays (yikes!). She sent me this website, which is where she is beginning I think: http://thecheesemaker.com:80/mozzarel... . Around here (nyc) people I know seem to be more into taking cheesemaking classes (at the cheesemonger or at a farm) rather than doing it at home (perhaps it has something to do with our small nyc apartments!).
I like to keep Chevre "Mix" --the powder from New England Cheesemaking in my freezer. Other than rennet, some cheese molds (for the goat cheese) and a couple of ricotta baskets, that's about it. I bought a digital thermometer and a dedicated stainless steel pot. Right now, it's just too warm to make cheese (got no A.C.).