Friday, January 11, 2013

Homemade Cheese

One of my goals for 2013 was to learn to make cheese.  

I know that may seem like a strange goal, but I have been wanting to learn for several years.  For Christmas, I received a starter kit from the Cheese Queen.  Last Saturday, I finally got the nerve up to make my first batch of mozzarella.

Seriously, I was really nervous.  The process didn't take that long (30 or so minutes), but I knew that everything had to be perfect temperature and time wise.  And I am the kind of girl who doesn't level off cups when I add flour.  So yeah, a little nervous.

First, I added citric acid to a gallon of whole, pasteurized (but not ultra pasteurized) milk.  Then I heated the liquid up to 90° F.

At 90°, I pulled the milk off of the stove and added the rennet.  This is the part where I messed up.  I (think that I) stirred the rennet in too vigorously.  This caused the curd to not set into a big piece.  

After I mixed the rennet in, I let the mixture sit for 5 minutes while the curd form.

If the curd had formed correctly, I would have poured off the whey and set the curd in a hot water bath.

Since I had broken the curd up into smaller pieces, I improvised.  I strained the curd through a cheese cloth, then shaped the curd into a larger shape.

Back on track, I then put the curd in 185° water, added cheese salt, and stretched it like taffy (the fun part!).

Because I messed up part of it, the cheese was a little harder (I like the really soft mozzarella).  But the flavor was still really good.  

Here is my completed mozzarella!  

Honestly, there was a point, when the curd wasn't setting right, where I almost cried.  That's my typical response to things not working right in the kitchen.  But I was determined to make mozzarella!  I am glad my improvisation worked!

Our pizzas that night with my homemade mozzarella!  

You can tell it's a little harder than I planned--I should have grated the mozzarella on the cheese, because it didn't spread very well.  

For both of these pizzas, I made the dough, the sauce and the cheese!

I am going to make one more batch of mozzarella (maybe Sunday?) and then try my hand at some more soft cheeses (Ricotta, cream cheese, goat cheese).  When I feel confident in those, I will move on to hard cheeses!

1 comment:

Tricia said...

That looks yummy. I've always had a desire to have goats and make my own goat cheese.