Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (2024)

This Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe is an easy way to learn the art of cheesemaking and requires just 3 simple ingredients!

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (1)

Several years ago, one of my life goals was to learn how to make cheese. Over the last year, I have done what I used to think was going to be impossible to learn: make cheese. The excitement is just beyond anything I have ever imagined.

I’ve made labneh (yogurt cheese), paneer, kefir cheese (also known as quark), Monterey Jack, and most recently I’ve done other more advanced cheese varieties.

Like Gouda, Pepper Jack and Wenslydale Cheese with Walnuts.

When the urge to make cheese strikes, I stop everything and whip up a new recipe. Every so often I realize that I’m out of culture (which is required for many aged cheese varieties). If you don’t have mesophilic or thermophilic culture, don’t despair.

Homemade greek yogurt (which I make in my Instant Pot) can serve as a stand-in to Thermophilic culture. It’s quite easy and requires just 3 ingredients – homemade yogurt (with active cultures), rennet and raw milk.

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe

The best part about making this simple yogurt-cultured rennet cheese is that you can make it in just a few hours or less with just 3 ingredients.

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (2)

First, you’ll want to pour a gallon of raw milk into a large, non-reactive pot. Slowly (on the lowest heat) heat up the milk to 95 degrees. (Make sure you use a thermometer). Add the yogurt and stir thoroughly. Allow the yogurt and milk mixture to sit for 10 minutes as the yogurt cultures the milk. (The thermal mass should keep the mixture at near 95-100 degrees F).

Add the Rennet

After giving the yogurt time to culture the milk, add 1/2 tsp rennet to 1/4 C. cool water and stir until combined.

Slowly pour the rennet into the warmed milk. Stir it in slowly, over the next 30 seconds, using an up and down motion. Rennet works quickly so don’t be too heavy-handed.

Once you have the rennet stirred in, stop stirring and put a lid on the pot. Allow the rennet to do its thing for 45 – 60 minutes (avoid touching during that time).

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (3)

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (4)

Cut the Curd

After that time, the rennet should have formed a nice curd on the top of the pot. Remove the lid and use a long knife to cut horizontally and vertically (like a checkerboard pattern) with 1/2 inch spacing. Allow the curd to rest for 5 minutes, covered.

Warm the Curds

Then, turn the heat back on low and place the thermometer back on the pot. Gently (and slowly) bring the milk curd up to 100 degrees F. If you are going after a cheese that’s a bit more solid (harder) then warm the milk curds up to 100-105 very slowly over the course of 30 minutes.

If you are looking for a soft cheese, simply bring the milk curds to 100 and keep at that temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Drain the Curds

Grab a colander and place it on top of a large pot to catch the whey. Line your colander with cheesecloth (or cheesecloth alternative) and pour the curds in.

Take special care to catch all the whey in the bottom pot.. that whey has so many uses (including this delicious whey caramel!)

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (5)

Once the whey has filtered out of the colander, generously salt the curd with 2-3 tsp salt. The salt will help draw out the whey (making a harder cheese) and also give the cheese flavor. Don’t be too light on the salt.. some of it will work its way out in the form of whey.

In other words, the more the merrier.

Tie Up or Transfer to a Cheese Mold

Transfer your curds to a cheesecloth lined cheese mold and place the follower on top. Or simply tie up the cheesecloth very tight and allow it to hang over a bowl in the fridge for an hour or up to 24 hours for a firmer cheese.

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (6)

I line a cheese mold with coffee filters (if I don’t have cheesecloth) and press at 10 lbs in my cheese press for 2 hours before removing. If you don’t have a cheese press you can tie up your cheesecloth or even use canning jars as an inexpensive weight.

(I love this cheese press… and I picked it up for a reasonable price on Etsy.)

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (7)

You can eat this cheese right away or age for several days.

To age, you’ll want to wrap your Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese in a clean piece of cheesecloth and keep on a cheese mat at room temperature. Re-wrap in new cheesecloth daily. When the rind of the cheese is dry, mold spots may/will begin to show. If this happens, wipe the rind down with cheesecloth soaked in apple cider vinegar and dry with a paper towel.

Once the cheese is dry, you can wax the cheese for longer aging or refrigerate in a covered container and enjoy at your liesure.



Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

This simple Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe is a wonderful way to learn the art of cheesemaking and requires just 3 simple ingredients to make a successful cheese!


  • 1 C. homemade greek yogurt with active cultures (or you can use milk kefir)
  • 1 gallon raw milk (do not use ultra pasteurized)
  • 2-3 tsp sea salt or more, as needed
  • 1/2 tsp rennet


  1. Pour your milk in a large, non-reactive stockpot. Bring the milk to 100 degrees F very slowly on the lowest heat.
  2. Add the yogurt and stir in thoroughly. Turn off the heat (the thermal mass of the pot will keep the temperature around 100 degrees F). Allow to sit and culture for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Dilute the rennet in 1/4 C. room temperature water. Add the rennet to the pot, stirring with an up and down motion for 30 seconds. Immediately stop and put the lid on the pot.
  4. Turn the burner off (if it isn't already off) and allow the rennet to do its thing for 45-60 minutes.
  5. During this time, the rennet should work to separate the milk into curds (top) and whey (bottom).
  6. Use a long knife to slice the curd horizontally and vertically about 1/2 inch intervals. Allow the curd to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat back on the lowest setting and bring the curds back to 100 degrees for 10 minutes (for a softer cheese), or 110 degrees F for 30 minutes (for a harder cheese). Stir gently, taking care not to be too rough with the curds. If the curds are still too big, allow the edge of your spoon to slice them as you stir.
  8. Stir every few minutes to prevent the curds from matting into a solid lump.
  9. Line a colander with cheesecloth. Place the colander in a larger pot (to catch the whey). Pour the cheese curds into the colander and allow the whey to drain through.
  10. Season the curds with 2-3 tsp salt; be generous, as the salt will help remove excess whey in the cheese.
  11. Line a cheese mold with cheesecloth and transfer the curds to the mold, then place the follower on top. Place in your cheese press at 10 lb for 1 hour. Remove, flip and re-dress with new cheesecloth. Press at 10 lbs for an additional hour.
  12. Or, alternatively, gather the corners of the cheesecloth and form into a large ball. Tie the cheesecloth over a spoon balanced on a pot and refrigerate. The pot will catch the excess way.
  13. Cheese can be eaten within 12-24 hours. Or, the cheese can be allowed to age longer. If allowed to age longer, wrap in clean cheesecloth and place on a cheese mat until the cheese is dry to touch. Enjoy the cheese - refrigerate immediately or wax and allow to age for a longer period of time.

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Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (8)

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (9)

Yogurt-Cultured Rennet Cheese Recipe (2024)


Can I use yogurt culture for cheese? ›

Not exactly. Yogurt starters work pretty differently from whey, they ferment more and coagulate less proteins, so the output is pretty different. But you can make labneh starting from natural yogurt.

What does rennet do to yogurt? ›

Just as you have to inoculate milk with yogurt to make yogurt, you introduce rennet, an enzyme, into milk to encourage its proteins to coagulate and separate into curds and whey. If we want to get into the history of it, rennet is wild and weird the same as yogurt.

How to make rennet for cheese at home? ›

Instructions for Making Nettle Rennet
  1. Rinse 2 pounds fresh leaves under cool, filtered water.
  2. Fill a large pot with 4 cups water. ...
  3. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of sea salt to the pot; stir gently to dissolve. ...
  4. Place a colander inside a large bowl. ...
  5. The liquid drained from the nettle leaves is the liquid nettle rennet.

What cheese can be made from yogurt? ›

Labneh is an uber simple Middle Eastern fresh cheese, you're going to be blown away by how easy it is to make. All you do to make this deliciously creamy spread is to drain plain yogurt. That's it. You press out the excess liquid (whey) from the yogurt and you're left with…

What is the best culture for making cheese? ›

If the temperature is up to 90ºF, then we recommend to go with the mesophilic culture, but if the temperature is between 68-125° F then the thermophilic culture is preferred. Most common cheeses use the mesophilic culture to make your favorite cheeses like Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Colby, Cottage Cheese, and Cheddar.

Can I use store bought yogurt as a starter culture? ›

Whether homemade or from the store, yogurt itself makes a great yogurt starter. If you're using store-bought yogurt, check the label to make sure it contains live, active cultures—and doesn't have any additives like sweeteners, flavours or thickeners.

What happens if you use too much rennet when making cheese? ›

Too much rennet will mean that your cheese will coagulate too fast and be too firm and rubbery, have too much whey, or taste bitter. Interestingly, it will be safe to eat, but you won't like either of them.

What happens if you put too little rennet in cheese? ›

Too little rennet and you won't form curd. Too much rennet an you'll over-set your cheese, giving it an undesired texture. Too little calcium and the curd won't have the right texture – or even form at all. Too much calcium and the texture, hardness, and melting prosperities, can be wrong.

Can you use too much rennet? ›

Rubbery cheese can happen when an excess amount of rennet is used, too much rennet equals a rubber ball, too little, soup!

Can cheese be made without rennet? ›

As we mentioned above, soft cheeses that do not require coagulation do not use rennet at all. Cottage cheese in particular is a fresh cheese that consists of loose curds, meaning you typically won't have to worry at all about whether or not it's vegetarian.

How do farmers get rennet? ›

Rennet is an enzyme that is used to coagulate milk in the process of making cheese. It is traditionally obtained from the stomachs of young ruminant animals, such as calves and lambs, but today, it is also produced by fermentation of molds.

What can I use instead of rennet to make cheese? ›

All successful rennet substitutes are aspartyl proteinases. Proteinases from Rhizomucor miehei, R. pusillus, Cryphonectria parasitica, Aspergillus oryzae and Irpex lactis are used for commercial cheese production.

Can I use yogurt as a cheese starter? ›

You can use buttermilk or yogurt as a starter, but you will not know what the culture mix is, since it can change substantially from the dairy to your home. Also, you will not know how healthy the culture is, due to temperature and storage conditions.

Can you make cheese in a yoghurt maker? ›

The stainless steel Yoghurt Maker is excellent for making yogurt, soft cheeses, cultured butter, kefir, dairy-free yogurts, and cheeses.

How long does yogurt cheese last? ›

Remove the yogurt cheese from the filter or cheesecloth and save the whey for other recipes if you'd like. Keep the yogurt cheese refrigerated; it is best when used within one week.

Can I use yogurt instead of mesophilic culture? ›

Many simple dairy products that almost every household has (such as yogurt or buttermilk) can be used as a mesophilic starter culture.

Can you make cheese without cheese culture? ›

Sometimes cheese is made without using cheese cultures and instead alternative food acids are used such as: citric acid, vinegar, lemon juice and tartaric acid. With these acid options, you'll end up making soft cheeses like paneer, Queso Blanco, mozzarella or mascarpone.

How can yogurt be used as a substitute for cheese? ›

Usually made out of plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt, yogurt cheese is a great ingredient in the kitchen, as it can be used in lieu of fresh cheese in salads, dips, smoothies, and pizzas, or spread on bagels, crackers, or flatbreads.

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