Sterilize the pot just before use by pouring ½ inch of water in the bottom, covering, and bring to a rolling boil for at least five minutes. Pour out the water, replace sterile lid, keep sterilized pot covered until you are ready to add the milk.
INOCULATE THE MILK: The evening before you plan to make the whey, warm 1 gallon of fresh milk to 20C in the sterilized pot. Thoroughly blend in the “inoculum” of one pot of natural plain live yoghurt. Cover the inoculated milk with the sterilized lid. (The function of this inoculation with bacterial starter is to have the milk fermenting bacteria make lactic acid which lowers the pH so that the rennet will be able to act on the casein).
INCUBATE OVERNIGHT: Let sit at room temperature (R.T.) overnight (20-22oC).
WARM THE MILK: The next morning, warm milk up to 30C (take care not to burn it). Meanwhile, dissolve ¼ tablet of Rennet in ¼ cup cold water.
ADD THE RENNET: Add dissolved rennet to the warmed milk , stir to mix thoroughly. Cover, let sit undisturbed for approximately an hour. Be patient. Do not disturb the milk until it has coagulated.
ACHIEVE A CLEAN BREAK: Test for completed action of rennet ("clean break "): Probe a clean finger into the (hopefully) gelled milk and lift. If the gel is firm enough to break cleanly as the finger is lifted, go to next step. (If the milk is gelatinous and flows across your finger , let sit until a clean break is obtained. Do not stir. This may take as long as 1-2 hours.) Be patient, do NOT disturb the milk.
CUT THE CURD: Once a clean break is achieved, cut the curd with a long knife : begin at edge of pot, cut straight down to bottom. Cut repeatedly parallel to first cut, but increasing the angle of the knife until reaching other side of pot. Rotate the pot 90 degrees, cut as before . Rotate and cut two more times, yielding ½ inch cubes of curd.
SETTING THE CURD (RAISE AND HOLD THE TEMPERATURE): Place pot over a low fire, stir curd with cleaned bare hand by reaching down to bottom, gently lifting and stirring . Cut larger curds as they appear. Do not mash or squeeze. If you wish to save some soft cottage cheese, remove a portion of the curd at this step before you raise the temperature. Continue stirring for 15 min to prevent the curds from clumping together. Heat curds to 34oC (92o F) for soft curd cheese, or as high as 39oC (102oF) for very firm cheese. The setting temperature makes a great deal of difference in the consistency of the curd/cheese.
SEPARATE CURDS AND WHEY: Stir and maintain desired temperature until curd has contracted to consistency of firm scrambled eggs . Remove from stove. The curds should sink in whey. Strain through a muslin cloth.