Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Trust the cheesemaker

I have made cheese. I am a cheese maker.

Making cheese is a tall order for a gal who has a physical inability to read a recipe from start to finish before starting to cook/bake/cheesemake. It's technical business, but I have succeeded (with zero cuss words!).

Hubs, being the thoughtful, cheese-loving soul he is, bought me this book a while back, but with the basement and the recovery period after the basement, I just wasn't in a cheese-making state of mind.

The local homebrew shop recently expanded and now has all the supplies needed for making all kinds of superfun cheeses. This, coupled with an intense need to make stuff, led to my Monday night cheese making party for one.

One ingredient in almost all cheeses is cheese salt. Can you imagine a single ingredient more dear to (and bad for - so we're talking moderation here, people) my little heart than cheese salt? It's like when people who are into social things and music things can see their two favorite bands in one concert. Cheese salt is the small-scale Lollapalooza of my world.

Anywho - makin' cheese. It's easy and I used a recipe from the book for 30 minute mozzarella, which is so delicious and easy, I don't know why anyone would even make the more complicated mozzarella, but whatevs.

You start by heating up whole milk (I used a local gallon of Picket Fence since it isn't Ultra-Pasteurized) and then you drop in some citric acid solution. Science!

It heats up and you stir, stir, stir while trying to keep the cats out of the trash and eating that milk gallon topper. Next, you drop in some rennet (that's the inside of a sheep or cow's stomach! I'm not vegetarian, but I used veggie rennet because frankly, I'm squeamish about stomach insides. Call me kooky.) and let the whole thing set and form a curd, which you'll cut down with a knife to make the next step easier.

Then, you stir and heat the curds and whey. Eventually, you're done stirring and heating up and the party moves to the microwave. You nuke and knead the curds until they look like mozzarella. It's pretty easy to tell when you're done because the cheese will pull and stretch like taffy. If you've got something that looks like mozzarella and pulls like taffy, good work!

I ended up with about 3/4 of a pound of cheese which tastes better than it looks here, in the ice bath they sat in for a half hour to get the right consistency.

I told you to trust the cheesemaker! She's a better cheesemaker than she is cell phone photographer.

We had some sliced over a grilled pizza last night. Bellisimo!

Have you tried making your own cheese? It wasn't as hard as I thought!


  1. No, but my hats off to you, i love cheese.

  2. Hey, what did Saddam Hussein and Little Miss Muffet have in common? They both had Kurds in their way!

    I'll be here through Sunday, folks - try the veal, it's amazing! And be sure to tip your server.

  3. So, was this cheaper to make than buying it from the store in this form? Just curious. I have found that sometimes it is just cheaper to buy whatever it is I'm trying to make. Cheesecake is one of those. I'm just made I didn't realize that until AFTER I'd purchased the $25 springform pan from a friend that sells Pampered Chef. Uf dah.

  4. IHeart -
    It cost just a little less to make it at home. Since I'll be able to use the rennet, citric acid and cheese salt for dozens of batches, I didn't count that cost (about $10) and the milk was $4.50 since it's local and whole. I think cheap ball mozzarella usually runs around $3 per ball.

    For me, the cost savings wasn't as important as the improved quality and knowing exactly what went into my cheese. Plus, I like feeling superior with my magic cheese-makin' skillz. :)


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