Curds & Whey

FAQs – Frequently asked Questions

Orders will be processed within 1 – 5 days of receiving your order

Anticipated delivery time from the date of dispatch:

  • North Island: minimum 2- 3 working days
    South Island: a minimum of three working days with rural delivery time extra
  • Overnight delivery available – but this is an extra charge imposed by the Courier Company
  • Heavy duty freight and specialist delivery available

Increasingly people make cheese, yoghurt, butter, kefir etc because of the real cost benefit to them and the fact that they are in charge of their food making process. Public awareness on product ingredients and a desire for quality organic food has catapulted this artisan craft back into popularity and preeminence.

Cheesemaking is not difficult to learn and providing you have the correct ingredients you will make good cheese.

Milk of course! You can use any milk type, cow; goat; sheep; buffalo etc. What you must be aware of is the difference in fat content of each milk type as this does affect the formation of the cheese. Vegetarian and vegan’s can now use specialty cultures combined with non lactic milk such as coconut, soy, almond, even reindeer milk – any type of non lactic milk product

If you would like to use raw milk then check out Or you can contact the Weston A Price Foundation at Weston A Price maintains eleven chapters in NZ and through one of their local chapters it is quite possible that you will find a local source of milk. If you live in the Auckland area check out Also is a useful site to visit. We also maintain a database of rawmilk suppliers so please contact us for details.

Having access to raw milk keeps your costs down and the milk is delicious

Looking for lidded buckets for your milk then is a useful site to visit.

Vegan and vegetarian taste is growing exponentially and we are keeping up with the trend.  As innovative non dairy cultures come on the market we will stock them.  The method of making cheese and yoghurt or other such products follows the same methods as when using lactic milk.

  • Culture which is the cheesemaking bacteria that is added to milk to assist in making the cheese. We are conscious of the needs of home cheesemakers and you can start off cheesemaking using the small 1Unit sachet which covers up to 100 litres milk. Then as a more experienced cheesemaker you can purchase larger sachet sizes which give greater milk coverage and are extremely cost effective
  • Dairy free Culture is available on request for the cheesemaker who wants to use a non-animal based milk such as Soy, coconut, almond milk
  • Rennet or renin which is used to coagulate and set milk. Rennet can either be plant based vegetarian rennet or a liquid rennet extracted from calf enzymes.

Our advice is always start simple and if you like your cheesemaking come back and purchase what you want. You will need:

  • Cheese molds – again improvise with what you have in the kitchen to start with but it is definitely easier and more satisfying to have a couple of cheese molds on hand
  • Calcium chloride – optional
  • Double boiler – which is one pot placed inside another pot. Use what you have in the kitchen but please be sure to have a stainless steel inner pot. If you place your pot directly on the stove you will scald the milk
  • Draining cloth which can be muslin or chux cloth or the PCT hygienic draining cloth sold b
  • Long handled knife to cut the curd
  • Mini measuring spoons
  • Sieve and stirrer
  • Stovetop
  • Thermometer for temperature control
  • Wax – optional

Your own farm milk is the best. If you live in the country you may be able to source milk and purchase to the legal limit permitted
The Weston A Price Organisation is an organically based organisation which maintains eleven chapters in NZ and they may be able to direct you to a local milk source. Check out

When purchasing milk from a supermarket buy full cream non-homogenized milk to obtain a richer, creamier cheese.

Homogenized milk, UHT long life milk and soy milk can make cheese that does not require rennet but tends towards a low fat cheese. Dried milk can also be used but you may have to add in cream to improve the ability of the milk to produce a better cheese.

Vegetarians and vegans can use soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and other suitable alternatives

  • An average amount of ten litres milk produces approx 1kg hard cheese, four good sized camembert or four feta cheeses
  • 5 litres milk would equate to approx 0.5kg hard cheese and 500gms feta or fresh mozzarella
  • 2 litres milk will produce approx 500gms cream cheese
  • Do not forget that you can obtain fresh ricotta from the whey produced when making your main cheese

If you are using raw milk then it is sensible to pasteurise for health safety reasons. Recent legislation in NZ does permit raw unpasteurised cheesemaking.

If you feel confident with your cheesemaking then it is possible to mix milk types and increasingly calf, goat and sheep milk is being mixed to produce interesting and unusual new cheeses.

Whey is the watery substance which separates from milk as cheese is being made. You can make ricotta cheese from whey. It is also excellent for baking, soup making and even nurturing roses – Elizabethans used it as a skin cream but perhaps this type of application is not so popular these days!

This depends on the complexity of the cheese you are making. The cheesemaking process should take 3 – 6 hours. It takes time for curd to drain but you can go off and do something else while this is happening but remember to sterilise your hands before you start again.

If you are using milk that has been pasteurised or homogenized then the calcium content may have been adulterated. Calcium chloride assists in “firming” curd.

If you have unwanted mold growing on the surface of the cheese you can either wash with a cloth that has been soaked in boiled, salted water or white vinegar or you can cut out the offending mold and mold regrowth should occur.

If a cheese, eg feta is too salty you can place it in some milk which will help draw out the salt. If you have a slimy cheese surface you can add a little vinegar to the brine to counteract this problem.

This may have been caused by brining in excessively salted warm brine.

You can use a wine fridge with temperature control. A simple method is a chilly bin with a rack on the bottom. Or you can make yourself a simple cheese safe using untreated timber.

This depends on the type of cheese that you have made. Ricotta, feta, mozzarella, fresh goat cheese can be eaten the following day. Brie and camembert take about four to seven weeks to mature and semi/hard and hard cheese takes several months to mature.

Cheese and yoghurt cultures are predominantly lactic cultures which means that they consume the lactose in milk. Some people however are allergic to lactose and therefore using a non-dairy culture such as VSAB 1 which is a plant based culture or SYAB1 is of use to them.

We are often asked what happens to culture when it is being freighted. Be reassured that  cultures can remain in ambient temperature for quite some time with no deterioration of quality. It is the long term storage of culture that is important so please keep your cultures cool in the fridge or deepfreeze when you receive them. Do not allow any damp to creep into the sachet as this destroys the culture validity.

All culture has a best by date.  However culture can last far longer than the date stamp providing it is kept cool and absolutely dry in your cool storage.  Always ensure that the culture is dry.  Any damp into the cultures renders it useless.

We all know what that means! Curds & Whey is here to help you with your cheesemaking and are always delighted to help with any queries that you may have.

The most important thing is to enjoy and feel comfortable with your cheesemaking so please contact us if you would like some further advice.

Yes we do. If you have problems, queries or want to pass on general advice and tips to other cheesemakers please contact us and we will make sure that this information is added to this FAQs page for everyone’s benefit.