Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Cheese Please!

This my friends, is my first attempt at Mozzarella cheese.  Yes.  I made it with my own two hands.  It's something I've been wanting to make forever and I finally got the balls to actually try it.  I was worried about it.  I mean it can't be easy to make cheese, right?  I thought my first attempt was going to be a disaster, but I'm quite impressed with how easy it was and with the final product.

Here's the deal with making cheese.  You have to have 3 specific ingredients to do it:
1. Milk that isn't ultra pasteurized.  Preferably milk from a local farm.  And luckily we have amazing food stores in Memphis called Easy-Way.  Which is where I purchased my 1/2 gallon of milk. It even came in a fancy little glass bottle, like when the milk man would deliver it.  (Ok, so I never in my life had the milk man deliver milk, but it's a fun visual).

2.  The next thing you need is Citric Acid.  To be quite honest, I really have no idea why the hell you have to have this ingredient, but in every cheese making recipe I read, it was listed.  And on the bottle it says it can be used as a substitute for salt, so putting two and two together, I assume it's some sort of preservative/flavoring used in cheese making.  If you really want to learn more about it, go here.

3.  And finally, you need Rennet.  What the hell is rennet, you ask?  Well that's exactly what I asked.  Rennet is a bunch of enzymes, found in the stomach of mammals that, in cheese making, causes milk to coagulate, separating the curds from the whey.  Luckily for the faint of heart, or the vegetarian variety, they have vegetable rennet.  That is what I used.  I found both my citric acid and my rennet on Amazon.com.  They both cost me about 15 bucks.  I've bought small chunks of cheese for that price. 

Here's the recipe I used.  It's really easy to follow and even has pictures!  HOORAY!  Trust me.  It's not scary.  I halved the recipe and that scared me because I felt like I was in a serious science project with cheese making.  But cheese is forgiving!  Gotta love that damn cheese!  It's good AND forgiving!  Here's the rest of my process:

This is what happens after you add in the vegetable rennet and let it sit for 5 minutes.  It solidifies the milk.  So cool!  The process is really fun and amazing.  If you have kids, I think they'd really enjoy helping!

 Little Miss Muffet ain't got shit on me!  Here's the separation of my curds and whey. 

Here's what you get after heating your milk to the desired temperature.  You then have to squeeze out all that whey. Which is a lot of fun. 

And it starts to look like ricotta cheese at first.  But the more you work with it, the more it begins to resemble mozzarella.

Yep!  That's my string of cheese.  I know it's blurry.  You try taking a picture holding moving cheese in one hand and a camera in the other! 

The only thing I did other than the recipe suggested was I added in some salt at the end.  In fact, I added in a GOOD pinch of salt and I think it still needed more.  So be sure to add in this step!

Happy Cheese Making!  Don't be afraid.  It's so cool!  

1 comment:

Tish said...

Right on!!! I will definitely do this! Never happy with store bought mozzarella's price or flavor. Cheers to being a homesteader. Excited. Before it's over, there may be nothing left that we buy at the store!