Swiss Cheese Recipe (Baby Swiss)

The flavor of 'Baby Swiss' cheese is buttery, nutty, and creamy. Because it melts well Baby Swiss is suitable for a wide range of dishes. Besides the normal lactose converting bacteria, Propionic bacteria is used to break down lactic acid and generate carbon dioxide, which forms the bubbles (eyes) as the cheese ages. This is quite similar to bread dough rising but takes much longer. The longer the cheese is allowed to age, the more complex the flavor gets, and the larger the holes will become. Some delis label baby Swiss cheese as 'Lacy Swiss,' because it looks like fine lace when sliced.
  • Yield

    4 Pounds

  • Aging Time

    ~3 Months

  • Skill Level


  • Author

    Jim Wallace



Total price:


A Recipe for Baby Swiss Cheese

We suggest making a 4+ pound cheese for this one so the curd mass will contain enough gas production to develop proper holes.

If you would like to make a 2 gallon cheese with less "Swiss" type character, make the following changes to the recipe below.

  • 2 Gallons of Milk
  • 1/8 tsp MM100 Culture for a buttery flavor or 1/2 pack C101 Mesophilic Culture
  • 1/16 tsp Propionic Shermanii (essential for producing the holes)
  • 1.5 ml Single Strength Liquid Rennet
  • 1 M3 Cheese Mold

Notes for a smaller batch size are also listed in the recipe below.

  • Acidify & Heat Milk

    Begin by heating the milk to 84°F (86F if using raw milk with higher fat). You do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this in a pot on the stove, make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.

    Once the milk is at the proper temperature, the culture can be added (3/4 tsp calcium chloride as well if needed).

    • 5/16 tsp MM100 if raw milk or 7/16 tsp if using pasteurized
    • 1/8 tsp Propionic Shermanii for either pasteurized or raw milk

    Use half of the above additions if using only 2 gallons of milk

    To prevent the powder from caking and sinking in clumps, sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in.

    Allow the milk to ripen at the above temp for 45 min to 1 hr. Keep the milk covered and quiet during this time.

    While waiting for the milk to ripen, heat 2 gallons of non-chlorinated water to 130F. This will be used in the following steps to heat the curd and replace the whey you will be removing.

  • Coagulatie with Rennet

    Then, add theliquid single strength rennet to the milk.

    The milk now needs to sit quietly for 40-45 minutes while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd. You should notice the milk begin to thicken in 10-15 minutes, but allow it to continue firming for the full time. The thermal mass of the water bath should keep the milk warm during this period.

  • Cut Curds & Remove Whey

    Once a firm curd has formed, cut the curd mass into 3/8 inch pieces as evenly as possible over 5-10 minutes.

    Allow the curds to rest for 5 minutes, then stir gently for another 5 minutes. After stirring allow the curds to settle to the bottom of the vat for another 5 minutes.

    Next, carefully remove 1/3 of the whey. This will reduce the lactose, thus slowing down the bacteria and acid production. This step is what makes the elastic texture found in Baby Swiss.

  • Cook the Curds

    Now it is time to begin drying out the curds by increasing the heat slowly to 102°F. This is be done by slowly adding hot water at 130°F to the curds using hte steps below.

    Slowly add water at 130°F to the curds so the curds reach 95°F in 5 min. Then stir the curds for 5 min.

    Next, Add more water so the curd temp reaches 102°F within the next 5-10 minutes. The final water addition should be equal to the whey that was taken out for lactose dilution.

    Slowly stir the curds for 30-40 minutes. This will achieve the final dryness. Make sure to check the curds for proper dryness. The final curds should be cooked well through and should be examined to make sure that enough moisture has been removed. A broken curd should be firm throughout and the curds should have a moderate resistance when pressed between the fingers.

    Once the curds have been cooked, let them settle and consolidate into a mass. Try to gather them to one side of the pot for better consolidation.

  • Remove Whey & Form Curds

    Next, drain the whey to 1” above cheese surface and place a plate ontop of the curds that's large enough to cover the curd mass. Add a weight ontp of the place that's approximately 1/2 of the expected curd weight, 2.5 lbs for 4 gal (1.5 lbs for 2 gal). This will help consolidate the warm curd nicely and minimize any mechanical holes in the cheese body.

    Remove remaining whey and transfer curd mass into cloth and then immediately into a cheese mold for draining. Do this by simply rolling the consolidated curd mass into the cheese cloth and gather it as a single cheese, then transfer this to the cheese mold.

  • Press the Curd

    The pressing for this cheese should be rather minimal, because we have already done a pre-press under the whey in the vat to consolidate the cheese body.

    Begin by pressing at about 2 times the cheese weight, which should be about 8-10 lbs for this cheese (5-6 lbs for the 2 gallon batch).

    Turn the cheese and re-wrap in press cloth at 1 hr. intervals and increase weight after about 1-1.5 hrs if needed for a smooth surface. The weight can be increased to 20-25 lbs (12-15 lbs for a 2 gallon batch) for this. Keep the cheese warm during this period at 75-80°F during total press time of 5 hours.

    At the end of this period, the cheese should have developed its final acidity and should be moved to a cooler (52-56°F) space to rest until the next morning (8-10 hours). The cheese should not be allowed to develop excessive acid greater than a final pH of 5.2-5.3 because this will impede the development of the gas forming bacteria.

    The final cheese should show a nice tight rind with no openings to harbor molds. This will make the surface so much easier to maintain and keep clean through its aging life. The cheese to the right is ready for it's brine bath.

  • Salting

    You should have a saturated brine prepared for salting this cheese. You will find all of the details you need on brining here.

    Here is a simple brine formula:

    1 gallon of water to which is added 2.25 lbs of salt, 1tbs. calcium chloride (30% solution), and 1 tsp. white vinegar.

    The cheese now needs to be set in the brine for about 2.5 - 3 hrs per lb. The cheese will float above the brine surface, so sprinkle another teaspoon or 2 of salt on the top surface of the cheese.

    Flip the cheese and re-salt the surface about half way through the brine period. The cheese should not be over salted because this will also impede the development of the gas producing propionic bacteria

  • Aging

    Now it's time for aging:

    1. Following brining, dry off cheese and move to the cool aging space at 50-55°F, and about 80-85%, for 2-4 weeks. Turn and control mold with a brine damp cloth daily.

      Do not wax the cheese until full hole development occurs.

    2. Move to an aging space of 65-70°F and 80% moisture for 3-4 weeks of hole development or 2-3 weeks for smaller holes (this will be somewhat determined by the condition of your initial cool aging). Make sure you turn the cheese daily to help even out the moisture, because this will affect the hole sizes and distribution.

      The time in this room will determine the amount of gas produced, the size of the holes, and the amount of swelling in the cheese. The cheese may be waxed at this point or simply dry brushed periodically for a natural rind.

    3. Move to cold room 45-50°F and 85% moisture for a month or more for flavor development.

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