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Raw Pepper-jack Cheese


  • 2 gallons whole raw milk

  • 1/4 cup kefir or 1/4 cup ripe clabber or 1 packet direct-set mesophilic culture

  • Diced hot peppers (you can get creative here with what peppers you want to use and how many, I used 4 jalapenos and 2 habaneros, when the garden is going later this summer I will have more of a pepper variety to play with!)

  • 1/2 tsp. liquid animal rennet, diluted 1/2 cup filtered water

  • 1.5 tsp. salt


  1. Warm milk to about 85-90 then remove from heat and add your culture, stirring in an up and down motion to thoroughly incorporate it

  2. Remove from heat, put a lid on, and allow to culture for about an hour

  3. Check your temperature, it should still be at least 85, if not gently warm to 85 and add the diluted rennet

  4. Stir again in an up and down motion to thoroughly incorporate

  5. Place lid back on the pot and let it sit off the heat for another hour

  6. Check for a clean break

  7. If you have achieved a clean break, cut the curd into 1/4" pieces but cutting first vertically, then horizontally, then diagonally.

  8. Let the curds rest for another 30minutes to an hour

  9. Start warming the curds slowly while gently stirring until they reach 100F

  10. Maintain this temperature while slowly stirring for 30 minutes

  11. Let curds settle to the bottom of the pot for 5 minutes

  12. Whey off until you can just see the tops of the curds

  13. Let curds sit in the reduced whey for another 30 minutes

  14. Ladle curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander and mix in salt

  15. Lift the curds inside the cheesecloth and lower into your cheese form

  16. Wrap cloth over the top and press with a follower at about 6 lbs for 15 minutes (for me this looks like a 2lb weight made with a jar of water hanging from number 3 on my dutch press)

  17. Unwrap, flip, and redress the cheese and press again at 10lbs for 12 hours (move jar weight to number 5 on my press)

  18. Remove the cheese and air dry for 2-3 days, flipping several times a day until the cheese is dry to the touch

  19. Wax with 100% organic, natural beeswax and place in your aging box and fridge for a minimum of 8 weeks and up to 4 months depending on the desired sharpness

I've also shared a recipe this week for Smoked Pepper-jack Mac n' Cheese! Check it out here!


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