This is a post I have been wanting to write for 6 months, but the truth of the matter is that I just could not get the cheese to turn out the way it was suppose to. I received my cheesemaking kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company back in June.
I have attempted making the 30 minute Mozzarella four different times. Each time the cheese turned out a little better, but never as well as I would have liked. I am pretty determined to learn how to make cheese. In a few months we will be moving to our “farmette” in Texas and getting a milk cow is high on our list of priorities. I need to learn to make cheese, and soon!
Thankfully, my persistance paid off and I was able to make a wonderful batch of cheese today using fresh, raw (unpasteurized) cow milk.
Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit
Because I had never made cheese before, I decided to start out simple. I figured it couldn’t get much simpler than fresh mozzarella. Plus, we love eating fresh mozzarella in our Caprese Pasta Salad.
The kit contains all the items you will need (except milk) to make 30 one pound batches of fresh mozzarella or ricotta cheese: Dairy Thermometer, Butter Muslin, Citric Acid, Vegetable Rennet Tablets, Cheese Salt and Recipe Booklet.
The recipe book covers several different variations in cheesemaking, including using fresh milk, store-bought milk, powdered milk, or goat milk. You can also choose between using a microwave or using a hot water bath to stretch the cheese.
I will go through the basics of making the cheese just to give you an idea of how it’s done. Really though, you will want to go the the website and download the free instructions so that you don’t miss something in the details. I have found that little things can really make the difference between a great and a not-so-great batch of cheese.
1. To start off, you mix citrus acid and chlorine-free water in a cup. The chlorine-free is very important. The first couple of times I used water from the tap, thinking that because we are on well water it has no chlorine. This is true, but I suspect even the minerals in the water can cause issues with how the cheese turns out. Today I used distilled water for the first time and had great results. Coincidence? Maybe, but I am sticking with the distilled water.
2. Mix 1 gallon milk with the citrus acid water. Stir and heat.
3. Add rennet and let set for 5 minutes (I let mine set 10 because I was using fresh milk) until the curds began to form.
4. Cut the curds and stir slowly until heated.
5. Remove whey from the curds.
6. Heat and stretch the mozzarella cheese. Add cheese salt.
That wasn’t hard, was it? Actually, the difficulty lies in the details, but I finally feel like I have a handle on the process. Looking forward to graduating to hard cheeses!