Published: 09 June 2020

How to make cheese at home

Is your milk about to go out-of-date and you don’t want to waste it? Or do you just fancy fresh cheese without all the preservatives? Dr Veronica Giacintucci, Teaching Fellow in Food Science, shares how you can make homemade paneer and cottage cheese.

Veronica Giacintucci
Dr Veronica Giacintucci

How can milk be used to make cheese?

There are hundreds of different types of cheeses across the world, from the soft and creamy French brie, to the hard and mature English cheddar. The type of cheese you end up with is dependent on the technique you use to make it. For example, paneer (commonly used in South Asian recipes), is made through a process of pressing, while cottage cheese (commonly used in American recipes) is made by draining.

Cheese is made through a process called lactic acid fermentation – this is where a type of bacteria (lactobacteria) converts sugars found in milk (lactose) to generate energy. This reaction forms a by-product, lactic acid, which makes the milk more acidic, causing it to curdle and form cheese.

Fresh cheese can also be made by adding lemon juice to milk to make it more acidic. In this acidic environment, proteins in the milk (caseins) start to stick together and form clumps, curdling the milk.

My recipes


Have a go at making some paneer and adding it to a curry.

  1. Take milk from the fridge (whole milk works best) and heat it up in a pan until it starts foaming, but before it boils, add lemon juice to curdle the milk.
  2. Using a colander and a cheese cloth, press the curdled mixture, removing any residual liquid.
  3. Cool your final product.
  4. Cut it as you please!

Cottage cheese

Make some cottage cheese and add this to a salad or use it as a replacement for mayonnaise.

  1. Take milk from the fridge (whole milk works best) and heat it up in a pan until it boils.
  2. Add lemon juice and wait for the milk to curdle.
  3. Carefully drain your product and cool it down.
  4. Enjoy!

Top tip: Add plain yogurt for a creamier product.


Now that you know my recipes for success, fire up the hob and make some un-brie-lievable cheese!

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