How to Make Cheese from Powdered Milk

Here’s another recipe I wanted to test out that puts to use the buckets of powdered milk I have stored. Remember if you are constantly rotating your stored food (especially the 3-month food supply) not only will you greatly reduce the chance of anything going bad, but you’ll actually be learning to use your bulk-stored food and eating what you store — some of the most important rules in food storage.

To make cheese from powdered milk is an easy process (unexpected since I never had any experience making cheese before this). Here’s how it works:

What You’ll Need

  • Powdered Milk
  • Water
  • Cooking Pot
  • White Vinegar or Lemon Juice
  • Cheesecloth or Clean Cotton T-Shirt

How to Make Cheese from Powdered Milk

I used a small amount of ingredients so I could test it out first before using the full recipe. The full recipe calls for:

  • 3 cups powdered milk
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup plain white vinegar

In my instructions I quartered this recipe as follows:

Step 1: Mix together 3/4 cups of powdered milk with 1 1/2 cups of cold water in a cooking pot. Stir until dissolved.
Step 2: Stir milk over a medium-low to medium temperature until it becomes hot to the touch but not scalding (this should be around 140ยบ if you’ve got a cooking thermometer)
Step 3: Maintaining the same temperature, stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. You should immediately begin to see the curds separating from the whey.
Step 4: Continue cooking to allow the curds to separate from the whey. After a few minutes there should be large globs (if that’s a real word :)) of curds in an amber pool of whey. If it’s still too milky, add another tablespoon of vinegar, stir and cook it on medium to medium-low heat until the curds completely separate from the whey.
Step 5: Pour the curds and whey into a colander lined with a clean cloth, cotton t-shirt or cheesecloth to drain off the whey (this sweet liquid can be used in the place of water in other baking recipes so drain it into a bowl if desired).
Step 6: Taking the cloth or cheesecloth (a t-shirt in my example) squeeze the curds to press out any remaining whey.
Step 7: Rinse the curds — which is essentially ricotta cheese (I’ve been informed that this is more a paneer style cheese and not ricotta. Ricotta is made by further processing the poured-off whey. For more instructions into this, check out the links in some of the comments below) at this point — under cool water and eat fresh or store in the fridge.

Conclusion

What you should be left with is about the same amount of curds as you measured out in powdered milk.

Since I used 3/4 cup of powdered milk in the above recipe, it resulted in about 3/4 cup of curds — so plan your recipes accordingly.

I was really excited when learning this, since I love lasagna. Pasta as well as tomato sauce — in the form of canned tomatoes (or powdered tomatoes) — stores very well, but fresh cheese doesn’t. Now that I know how to make fresh cheese easily from my stored powdered milk, even lasagna can be enjoyed during the end of the world. :)

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70 Comments»

Comment by DaveyBoy
2010-09-07 05:43:10

Excellent post. I have only ever made cheese from powdered milk using Rennet (Available usually near the pudding in grocery stores), and have mixed results with fresh milk, but the powdered worked fine. I was wondering, did your cheese come out a little sweet? Mine did, and I asked a friend of mine who is a food scientist (who specialized in making cheese for years), and he said that there is a lot more lactose in nonfat powdered milk, but that he had never made cheese from it. I thought the cheese was still good, but was wondering how it turned out for you. I wanted to add that if you let the cheese sit and drain it off, you can fry it up too, once it gets prett dry, and that I had to salt mine for it to taste good. Again, I used the rennet, so I’m not sure how it would vary, but this recipe looks so simple, I have to try it. Thanks again.

Comment by Erich
2010-09-07 08:24:40

Davey,

I didn’t find the cheese sweet but slightly sour/vinegar tasting (but not in a bad way). This may be due to me not rinsing it enough in the final step, I’ll have to try it again.

I know that they use rennet to make “sweet” cheeses but I’m not sure if this is due to the rennet or some other process. Definitely let me know how it turns out for you after trying this recipe, I’m curious to hear what the difference is.

Another point, I used non-fat powdered milk, so the taste wasn’t as rich as the cheese that I imagine whole powdered milk would make. Did you use whole powdered milk in your cheese? As for improving the fat-free kind, I heard you can also add a little butter to make the taste more rich which I’ll need to try out.

Either way I think this cheese would be perfect for lasagna and since all these ingredients store well (the sauce, non-fat powdered milk, and pasta) it would make an easily accessible “comfort” food directly from your food storage.

Thanks for the frying tip. I’ll have to try that as well.

 
 
Comment by KP
2010-09-09 06:21:25

For the milk to Curdle
You can use Yogurt/Curd instead of Vinegar, but curds take longer and sometime, needs more quantity, sour curd is faster
This will avoid the sour taste to a large extent.

U can also use few crystals of citric acid.

2010-09-09 06:31:47

KP,

Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to try that one out as well.

 
 
Comment by Practical Parsimony
2010-09-10 18:31:11

How long does the cheese have to drain? I like the way you use things other than cheesecloth, something that would require a purchase. I use a diaper that has not been used in 35 years.

2010-09-11 04:19:04

If you’re referring to step 5, then you’ll want it to drain until the whey no longer pours through the filter. At that point, as you are moving on to step 6, you just twist and squeeze to release any remaining whey.

Good job on reusing the 35 year-old diaper (unused of course ;)). That’s parsimony at its finest (nice blog btw)! For those wondering about the diaper, she is talking about a cloth diaper. You don’t want to do this with a disposable one!

 
 
Comment by Terry
2010-10-04 22:40:06

Amazing! I am so impressed.

 
Comment by Terry
2010-10-04 23:02:23

I followed your receipe but my cheese turned out kind of tough and not as soft as the store bought kind. Did I cook it too long?

2010-10-05 08:25:32

Hey Terry,

Yeah typically if the curds are too tough they either sat in the whey too long or you cooked them in too hot a temperature.

If you’re looking for the consistency of cottage cheese just mix in a bit of milk or cream when you’re done.

 
 
Comment by Terry
2010-10-05 12:59:54

Thank you so much, I am going to try this again. I am just amazed that you knew how to do something like this. My friends are also impressed!!

 
Comment by Shreela
2011-03-01 17:39:29

According to some, this style of cheese is NOT ricotta, but more like cottage cheese, paneer, or Queso blanco. The word “ricotta” supposedly means recooked:
http://dictionary.reference.com/etymology/ricotta

What I find fascinating about these discussions isn’t the who’s right vs who’s wrong part, but that more cheese (ricotta) can be cooked out from the drained whey. Would making mozzarella, then ricotta with the drained whey work using powdered milk? I have no idea. I’ll have to look as that up and try it one day. Here’s a movie of a couple cooking whey to get ricotta: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF1RDnCu2wM

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-04-13 15:04:56

Hi Shreela,

Thanks for the correction. I’ll make that update.

 
 
Comment by Mattie Towle
2011-04-13 13:26:10

Hi there! Great post and very instructional, but I just wanted to let you know that the cheese you made is more of a paneer style cheese not a ricotta. Ricotta is actually made from the whey. So you could go on to make ricotta from the left over whey you got here and then get more use from your milk by having the nice cheese you made plus ricotta.

 
Comment by Mattie Towle
2011-04-13 13:30:06

Oh, I forgot this link to guide anyone who is interested on how to make ricotta.

Cheers! http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Ricotta-Cheese

 
Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-04-13 15:02:09

Hi Mattie,

Thanks for the correction and the great link! I’ll update the post and point them to the link.

- Erich

 
Comment by jonette
2011-07-24 00:37:43

I LOVED your article! I can’t wait to try this-TONIGHT!!!!!!! I have some powdered milk, and some vinegar, and some water-holy smokes! I am so excited! I loved your, and your readers’, comments! Here I go!!!!!!!

 
Comment by jonette
2011-07-24 00:39:25

PS-I love Paneer! Wonderful Hubby and I are Indian food lovers and my personal favorite is Saag Paneer. OK, here I go!

 
Comment by jonette
2011-07-24 01:39:44

I made CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!!!!!!! It was kind of dry, but it was cheese!
Thank you so much for this article!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-09-22 14:13:54

very welcome. :)

 
 
Comment by Doris
2011-09-22 12:59:43

I,m a bit of a novice at this cheese making. I started with vogurt and have done it with vinegar, lemon juice and with a live yogurt culture. The live culture seems to give the best flavor. I bought plain, unflavored vogurt with a live culture, used what I needed and froze the rest in recipe portions. When I make a batch I freeze enough of the start for the next batch or two. The hint I wanted to tell you is that if you use “non-instant” powdered milk you do not need to scald the milk first (saves a little time) You do have to make sure there are no lumps in it however. To do that mix the powdered milk in a blender with hot water from your tap. I make mine in a crockpot that has heated the water to 110 degrees and as soon as the yogurt in the jars has reached about 105 degrees I turn off the crockpot and keep it covered for a few hours.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-09-22 14:13:20

Thanks for the great tips and suggestions Doris!

 
 
Comment by ophelia
2011-11-09 21:32:52

I think this is just great. Im in my mid 20s and all the people around me are having kids and couponing. What a fantastic and efficient use for powdered milk for me to share. This article was excellently written and I love the pictures. Thank you for writing…this is a keeper!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-11-14 03:39:43

You’re very welcome ophelia!

 
 
Comment by Cindy
2012-02-25 19:02:36

I look forward to trying it.

 
Comment by Annie
2012-04-03 15:30:53

Wow, how cool is that?? I was wondering, though, if the resulting cheese could be used on crackers or something? Or maybe made into some kind of “cream cheese”? I really don’t know anything about cheese making, so this is really cool!

 
Comment by Natalia
2012-04-04 10:18:47

Do you know when you would add the salt? When making butter you add it at the end, but with cheese it seems it wouldn’t really mix into the curds. Thanks for any hints.

2012-04-04 10:57:37

Natalia,

That’s a good question. I’m assuming you’d add salt right after the rinsing step but I’m not positive. We’d love for you to experiment and let us know!

 
 
Comment by Doug Warren
2012-04-17 11:22:21

I was wondering if maybe you could mix some Olive Oil with the vinegar to aquire a better texture. And or maybe flavored vinegar (herbs, fruit, peppers)

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-04-17 11:39:35

Doug,

Try it out and let us know. We’d love to hear your experiences.

 
 
Comment by Tiffany
2012-04-27 20:04:46

I happened to come across this recipe and just had to try it. How ever my attempt was pretty much a failure. I followed the directions exactly so i am not sure where i went wrong. I used instant dry milk with white vinegar. Also when i added the vinegar to the milk which i kept around 140 to 148 degrees, hardly any curds started to form and it stayed pretty milky even though i kept adding more vinegar. After about 10 minutes of no new curds I used a linen towel to rinse and wring out the whey. However when i tried to open it the cheese was stuck and i had to pry it open and instead of being in a ball or even together. It’s all stuck to the linen. What little bit of cheese i could pull of the linen tasted good so the taste isn’t the problem, so what did i do wrong. Also i used two cups of instant dry milk and all i got was less then a half cup of curds. Please any help would be grateful.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-05-05 10:40:01

Hi Tiffany,

I’m not sure what went wrong with your attempt. Perhaps the directions for your powdered milk are different than mine. I’m curious if you make your powdered milk with less water, that may help things. Also try increasing the temp more.

 
 
Comment by Tiffany
2012-04-27 20:13:16

Sorry about the punctuation mistakes, trying to do too many things at once. :)

 
Comment by Practical Parsimony
2012-05-04 03:45:03

Thanks! I pass your blog on to others all the time!. The diaper is a used cloth diaper, birdseye, square, single layer that was last used 35 years ago.

 
Comment by Darryl Patton
2012-05-11 14:05:12

“when i added the vinegar to the milk which i kept around 140 to 148 degrees”

Tiffany, that was your problem. You should have brought the heat up to 190 or so to cause the curds to set. The lower temperature will give you a lower curd count.

 
Comment by Bruce
2012-07-19 15:54:10

How about adding flavors to the cheese? Garlic, onion, all sorts of things.

 
Comment by Patricia Adams
2012-08-11 19:06:42

thanks for the receipe as I am always looking for things I can make myself as times get tougher and this sounds fun. Many years ago I made my own cottage cheese and butter from raw milk BUT never tried from powdered milk again thank you.

 
Comment by Theresa
2012-08-20 14:29:34

Is it possible to add garlic powder or herbs to add flavors to this cheese?

Comment by TI
2012-08-20 15:25:10

Hi Theresa,

Yes absolutely! Treat this as you would any other homemade cheese.

 
 
Comment by Shan
2012-09-02 03:36:13

I tried this method just now, with a skim milk powder (35% protein, 1% fat, 52% carb). For 110g of powder and a tea-spoon of lemon juice, I got 108g of hard cheese (with some moisture in it). At it smells great. I would be trying classic Indian “Palak Paneer” (Spinach-Cottage cheese) for the afternoon. I guess I can finish this in one sitting ;-)

Thanks a lot for this post!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-04 10:26:04

Great to hear Shan!

 
 
Comment by Shan
2012-09-02 03:37:03

One question: the milk got burnt a little bit at the bottom. Will using a non-stick cookware help?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-04 10:25:48

Hi Shan,

I never used a non-stick pot but I did stir it as it cooked.

 
 
Comment by Michele
2012-10-16 00:48:41

My jaws are wired shut and I’m craving pizza…would this work in a blender or should I just use the whey for cheese flavor?

 
Comment by Dawn
2012-10-26 21:01:56

Video has been removed from youtube.

 
Comment by Tom
2012-11-28 17:06:53

Hey All,

LOVE this recipe! so simple and SO COOL! one problem I had just now was the milk burned and stuck to the bottom of the pot! trying again and this time im using a double boiler.

 
Comment by Tracy
2013-04-28 12:25:47

I don’t know if it would work in this instance, but it might be worth a shot. The directions that came with my yogurt maker suggest rubbing an ice cube on the bottom of the pan before heating the milk. I admit that I haven’t tried it b/c I use a double boiler and haven’t had a problem with scorching so far.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-04-29 14:04:00

Thanks for the tip Tracy.

 
 
Comment by Rod
2013-04-28 12:27:31

If you use twice as much lemon juice instead of vinegar you will have a cheese you can use in desert type items.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-04-29 14:03:22

Rod, Great tip, thanks! I’ll try that.

 
 
Comment by Krisaundra
2013-04-29 14:19:31

I live with a jaw issue requiring surgery, but until then I can only open my mouth 1/4 inch and cannot chew, so I have learned that almost any cheese can be grated finer, or else just ground up in a blender until more of a damp powdery consistency and then use as you would normally! Hope this helps!

 
Comment by Pamela
2013-06-28 20:54:06

I have been making this recipe for years, only with whole milk as we are dairy farmers. It is nice to know it works well with powdered milk too. I usually add salt after my cheese has drained a little and then I like to add garlic powder and dill weed or taco seasoning and garlic powder. I have tried all kinds of other spices and herbs and have enjoyed many of them. I like to squeeze it into a ball as it is draining and hang it for awhile to drip. If you chill it, it will slice nicely but if you try while it is warm it will crumble. It is good crumbled in all kinds of recipes or on salads. My grandson calls it Grandma cheese and loves it.

 
Comment by Leigh
2013-06-29 04:30:32

Just wondering? Could you make cheddar cheese out of this & what would you have to do to make it cheddar?

 
2013-06-29 22:20:20

I haven’t tried this with powdered milk yet (but am going to this week i think..) but i’ve made this with whole milk before and we add all sorts of herbs to it along with a pinch of salt at the end. have been making this for a few years and I am now REQUIRED to bring this and my home made butter to all holiday dinners. The seasoning stage is the best one to get youngish children involved with. They can pick out what flavors they want in “their” cheeses.

 
2013-06-29 22:24:18

cheddar cheese requires specific enzymes and aging and additional pressing as it is a hard cheese and what this makes is a soft one. Some of the same principles are involved for the first few steps, but for cheddars and some of the others, you have to have a temperature and humidity controlled cheese cave for them to age in and you would need to order the proper enzyme starters. Plenty of places sell them online though and there are some great, simple and easy books for getting started in cheesemaking.

 
Comment by Tanya
2013-07-08 22:53:24

Hi

I make all sorts of cheeses at home in New Zealand, from raw organic milk. I am currently living on a boat in Asia, and wanted to make cheese from powdered milk. Tried this recipe using full cream milk powder and white vinegar. Turned out beautifully and hubby plus kids urged me to keep on making.

Thanks for sharing !!

 
Comment by Paula
2013-08-08 14:47:19

I haven’t yet tried to make cheese from powdered milk, but that is next on my list of things to do now. however I have made it from plain old store bought whole milk and in repsonse to one of the questions, you would add salt and any other flavors you wanted, like herbs for a great tasting cheese “spread” with crackers, after you have completely rinsed and separated the cheese from the whey.. then you mix it up and “smoosh” it around with your salt or other flavorings and wha-la.. yummy cheese.. Hope this helps some..

 
Comment by chuck
2013-08-30 11:45:02

my grandmother used to make her own butter and cottage cheese with real milk from her own cow. she would put the milk in a pan with a little salt and bring it to a boil then turn the heat down until the milk curdled. then she would put strain it and put the curds in a cheesecloth bag and hang it up in the basement with a pan under it and leave it for 5 or 6 hours. it was the best cottage cottage cheese ever. there are no words that can describe how good her butter was.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-08-30 18:49:53

mmmm. homemade butter, I love it too. Here’s an article I wrote on how to make butter in a jar if you’re interested: http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/blog/how-to-make-butter-2.htm

 
 
Comment by Interested
2013-08-30 16:12:45

hi,
came across your blog by accident..

I am so impressed… As a little kid on the farm I recall my Mom making cottage cheese, the cloth/straining it/etc, but as an adult I am unskilled in these things’

I was astonished at how easy it is to make, and you nice and clear/easy your directions are.

thnk you

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-08-30 18:47:57

very welcome. Thanks for the kind words!

 
 
Comment by Carrie Wright
2013-10-10 14:03:09

This link is no longer available

 
Comment by mike
2013-12-28 17:13:03

As a truck driver on a budget, and a cheese conesuer id love to give this a try, any suggestions on draining and rincing it without a running water source? Ill also be attempting this in a 12v crocpot so any tips or advice for doing this in a crocpot would greatly be appretiated. Many thanks for this post and I can’t wait to give it a try..

 
Comment by mike
2013-12-28 17:16:50

Amost forgot would using shop cloths (brand new never used of course) be acceptable for draining and rinsing the curds?

 
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