This really is easy and doesn't require any special equipment or ingredients. Try it and see:


There are many ways to make cheese. Some are difficult and require special ingredients, special equipment and special skills. This one requires none of those things! It's easy and a lot of fun. I've made some suggestions, but the variations are almost endless!


First of all some theory. It helps to understand. You may know this already, so please don't feel insulted if you do.

Cheese is a way of preserving milk. The process of making it consists of separating the solid part (curds) from the liquid part (whey).

If something acidic is added to the milk it is then heated, this will cause the curds and whey to separate. Adding citric acid, lemon, shikwasa or vinegar will do this and this is how you make ricotta.

In regular cheesemaking bacteria are added to the milk and they produce lactic acid. In this recipe, we will be using yogurt, which contains bacteria, to acidify the milk. The bacteria in the yogurt will ferment the milk and so this is a real cheese.

John (The Cheese Guy)



Good quality milk makes good quality cheese. Price is a rough guide to quality. Low temperature pasteurised milk in the ¥300~400 range works best. Many of the cheap milks just won't work, as they are made with milk powder and chemical additives. In Okinawa, Miyahira, Oppa and Tamaki EM are excellent and easily available. If you want to save money, my advice is to buy good quality milk that is marked down because it's near the sell by date. You can often find this at a supermarket in the morning. 



Mix milk and yogurt in a large saucepan, cover and leave overnight. In the morning, gently heat it. At between 80C and 90C, the curds and whey separate. Remove the curds and drain. Add salt and flavour as necessary. Press for 12 hours or so.



Large saucepan

Large kitchen spoon


Cheesecloth (gauze, any light non-dyed cloth will do)




Two litres of good quality, low temperature pasteurised milk

Pot of live yogurt (200g~400g)


Grated garlic

Roughly ground black pepper (optional)


Mix the yogurt in with the milk at room temperature, cover and leave for 4, 5 hours, overnight if it fits your schedule better.

Then gently heat the yogurt/milk mix, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

At around 80C to 90C, the curds and whey will begin to separate. The curds will rise to the surface. Cover and simmer for ten minutes or so at a very low heat.

Turn off the gas, keep covered for 30 mins.

The curds and whey will have separated.

Place a piece of cheesecloth over the colander over a bowl. Then gently place the curds into the cloth.

Bring the corners of the cloth together and tie them. Hang the cloth with the curds for about an hour to drain them.


Open up the cheesecloth and you have cottage cheese. Add salt to taste. 


Drop the curds from the cheesecloth into a bowl add salt to taste, mix and you have a basic cheese spread. Grated garlic and roughly ground black pepper will give you an excellent cheese spread for sandwiches, crackers, etc.


Make the cheese spread as above, put it back in the cheesecloth, bring the corners together and twist, so that the curds come together in a ball.

Squash the ball, place on a plate and put something heavy on top of it,

a PET bottle of water, for example. Put it in the refrigerator and leave it overnight.  Take it out of the cloth and it should look like this:

If you want a really spicy cheese, before pressing, cover the surface with roughly ground black pepper.

Good luck and happy Cheesemaking!




This was the first cheese that I made (actual photograph) that showed me that it's possible to make something in the kitchen that is as good or superior to what you would find in a supermarket.

If you've made cheese before, just add chopped porcini to a Brie or Camembert.


If you haven't - read on.


Just in case you think that making cheese is difficult, magic or, "you need to be born with cheese fingers, or to have a degree in cheesemaking," making cheese is EASY.


If you can follow a simple recipe, you can make cheese. If you can't follow a simple recipe, you can always give up before the going gets tough. And if you don't know whether you can follow a simple recipe or not, say a brief prayer and dive in at the deep end. You might not end up with the cheese you intended to make, but you'll get something interesting.



You can buy cheese moulds from Amazon, but, for this recipe, it's just as easy to make your own.


You can make a mould out of some kind of tube, preferably polypropylene or stainless steel, with a length approximately two times the diameter, i.e. if the diameter of the tube is 7 cm, the length of the tube should be about 14 cm. The rest of the equipment is pretty standard kitchen stuff.


Two small pieces of clean, undyed cloth - preferably cheese cloth, but any piece of thin cotton will do. You can even use the bottoms of a pair of old nylon stockings. However, if you do, there are two very important pieces of advice:



Ask your wife if you can use the stockings - the lovely surprise of a delicious Porcini Infused Brie is not likely to dampen her ire when she tries to put on a bottomless stocking. Women don't like this.



Make sure that you wash the stockings THOROUGHLY. This probably goes without saying. Incidentally, the bacteria that makes smelly cheese, such as Limburger, is called "Brevi-bacteria Linens" and is EXACTLY the same bacteria that makes sweaty feet smell! I was amused one day when my wife came home with a French Brie that she had found in the supermarket. The name of the (French) cheese was "Pie'd l'Angloys." (Old French for "Englishman's FOOT!")


By the way, I'm working on an even stinkier cheese that I'm going to call "un francais laisse un pet".


You will also need two rubber bands.

"Rubber bands?"

Yes. All will become clear anon.



Don't use cheap or skimmed milk, try to get full cream, preferably non-homogenised milk that has been pasteurised at a low temperature. Avoid UHT milk (UHT = ultra high temperature pasteurised), the only way to get that stuff to set is to mix it with concrete.


How much milk? It depends how much cheese you want to make. The final cheese will be just under a quarter of the size of your mould.



You should be able to find a mesophilic starter culture for cheese on the internet - Amazon has starter cultures. If you don't want to bother with this, buttermilk should work.


If you really want to make something wonderful, get some penicillium candidum and penicillium geotrichum. These make the white mould on the outside of the cheese.



There is rennet for ice cream and rennet for cheese. The latter is what you want unless you're making ice cream.



The most important item if you're going to make a porcini infused coulommiers. On the other hand, if you omit this, you will end up with an equally delicious cheese. Just call it by another name.




Put the milk in a double boiler


The point is that you don't want to heat the milk directly, as milk burns very easily. If you don't have a double boiler, you don't need to go out and buy one. Just find two saucepans, one larger than the other. Fill the larger one with water and put the smaller one inside the larger one and push down so that excess water splashes out.


You might want to do this in the sink, otherwise you're going to have a rather wet floor and, if your spouse is anything like mine, there might arise a certain iciness of manner that's better avoided.
(See "stockings" above.)


Heat the milk to about 32C


If you don't have a thermometer or can't be bothered to translate C to F, take a small spoon and put a little in your mouth. If you burn your tongue, it's much too hot. If it feels cold, you need more heat. If it feels warm, let it cool down a bit. It should be just under body temperature. It should feel slightly cool.


Add the starter culture(s).


Turn off the heat and add your starter culture. You only need a very small amount. For one litre of milk, I'd use about a smidgen.



For those who don't know what a smidgen is - it's a technical term for an amount roughly equivalent to one thirty-second of a teaspoon.


Try this to get used to the quantity:


Put a level teaspoon of sugar on a plate.
Spread it out a bit.
With the spoon, divide it in half.
Then divide one of the halves into half again. That will give you a quarter.

Now, take one of these and divide that in half. That'll give you one eighth. Divide that in half again and then one of these into half again. That will give you, if my mathematics is correct, one sixteenth of a spoonful, further divide that in half - and you will have made your first smidgen.




But what about buttermilk? Try using 32 smidgens per litre. What is
32 smidgens? Without getting into any complications such as the Metric Smidgen, the Imperial Smidgen, the Colonial Smidgen or “le smidgenne Provençal,” simply reverse the process described above and, if you haven't spilled any of the sugar on the carpet, you should end up with ONE TEASPOON!


If you're going to go for the whole hog and make the "Porcini Infused Brie to Die for," and have managed to find penicillium candidum and penicillium geotrichum, add - oh - about half a smidgen of each per litre of milk.


Float the starter culture on the milk for a minute or so so that it absorbs some of the milk. Give it a good stir to get it thoroughly mixed in.



Add your rennet. This will be either powder or liquid. Add a smidgen of rennet (powder or liquid) per litre of milk to a small glass of water. The water should be about the same temperature as your milk. Mix this into the milk for another minute or so. Cover it and leave it. After an hour or so, it should have set.



To test this, it's NOT recommended that you upturn the bowl over your head. Jamie Oliver may be able to make that work for whisked egg whites, but it's not a good way to test cheese curds.


The milk should look like soft tofu. If you don't know what tofu looks like, ask someone. If you can't find anyone who knows, and your milk still looks like milk, i.e. runny so that you could pour it into a glass, leave it for another hour.



If it still hasn't set by the time you go to bed, leave it overnight. And if it hasn't set by the time you get up the next morning, realise that something went wrong. If your other ingredients were fresh, it was probably the milk. Splash out and buy some good quality milk that has been pasteurised at a low temperature.


If it's palatable, drink it or put it in your coffee. If it isn't, throw it out and start again. Send me a nasty email if it makes you feel better.



What had been milk has now become curd. That's a technical term, it's what we cheesemakers call milk that has set. What we cheesemakers call milk that refuses to set is not the subject of this article and is unsuitable for mixed company.


Read on.



How much porcini?

A rough rule of thumb is to have more cheese than porcini, but that's up to you. Chop the dried porcini. You don't need to soak it. Using it dry is a good idea, as it will soak up some of the liquid from the milk and firm up your cheese. Also, since the liquid contains lactic acid, this will give you a sweeter cheese.



You might try soaking the porcini in brandy, in which case, you add a small handful of porcini to a large glass of brandy and soak it for a full 30 seconds. Then, you put it through a sieve to remove the chopped porcini, chug the brandy down in one gulp and carry on. Depending on the size of your brandy glass, at this stage, you may need to lie down for a while or go to a karaoke bar, etc.


Probably best to omit the brandy and just use the porcini dry.



Now for the interesting bit.

Take your tube. Remember the tube? You need this for your cheese mould. And the two ends of stocking or pieces of cheese cloth. Oh yes, and the rubber bands.

Put a piece of cloth or end of stocking over the bottom of the tube and fix it in place with a rubber band. Stand the tube in a bowl.

Slide a large spoon into the curd and gently tip this into the tube. Do this until you have a centimetre or so of curd at the bottom of the tube. The cloth or stocking bottom will make sure it stays there.

Sprinkle a layer of chopped porcini on the curd in the tube. Ladle some more curd into the tube, followed by a layer of porcini. Repeat this until you get to the top.

If you don't have enough curd to get to the top, or you have far more curd than will fit into the tube, either hurriedly get another tube or chalk it up to experience and adjust your quantities accordingly the next time.



Keep in a cool place for a few hours. Somewhere not in direct sunlight. Some watery fluid will leak from the bottom of the tube. This is called “whey." Unfortunately, apart from making ricotta (another recipe), and making “cheesy” puns, such as “no whey!” “whey to go,” "I did it my whey," etc., there is nothing much you can do with it. Which is a shame, because it contains nutrients and some of the porcini juice. If you are a home baker, using it to make bread is an EXCELLENT idea.

From time to time, you will need to empty the bowl of whey. Pick up the tube - putting your hand around the tube and the cloth or stocking bottom so that the latter doesn't slip off - and empty the bowl.

When the curd has drained down to roughly half of its original height, fasten the second stocking bottom or piece of cloth around the top of the tube with a rubber band. Then, holding the tube by the cloth/ stocking bottoms at both ends, rapidly turn it over, so that what had been the bottom now becomes the top and vice versa. It sounds more complicated than it is.


Leave it overnight. By this time, the curd should have consolidated and it should be about one quarter to one fifth of its original height. Give it more time if it hasn't firmed up enough, but if it looks like it will stand up by itself, take it out of the tube and place it on a plate.


Sprinkle the top of the cheese with salt. Give it an hour or so to soak into the cheese. Turn it over and sprinkle the other side with salt, that is the side that was the bottom of the cheese that has now become the top when you turned it over.

Place the cheese in a plastic container. More whey will leak out of the cheese. Tip this out and turn the cheese over. Do this once or twice a day.




Now comes the hardest part. Waiting for the cheese to mature. Keep the cheese in the refrigerator for four to five weeks.


And if you're lucky and the cheese gods are smiling on you, you should end up with something that looks like the photo at the top of this article.


Good luck!

John Davis (The Cheese Guy in Okinawa)