I have been trying to figure out what to post about for oh, 6 days now. The few things I thought about blogging about just seemed boring for the first post of the new year. Some friends of ours (who are awesome) gave us a mozzarella homemade cheesemaking kit for Christmas! I decided this would be the perfect weekend to do it.
It's pretty simple but the instructions require that you have a microwave (which we don't have). We ended up looking up on the kit's website afterwards (of course we waited until after) to see what it says if you don't have a microwave. Turns out, using a double boiler like we did is not the way to go. Oh well. The cheese turned out alright (B loves it, I'm kind of eh), but I really want to try it again following their directions for non microwave owners.
bottled water (or filtered water, you just don't want water with chlorine)
1 gallon milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
2. Set a colander over a microwave friendly bowl
3. Dissolve 1/4 rennet tab (if using from cheesemaking kit) in 1/4 cup bottled cold water.
4. Dissolve 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid in 1 cup of bottled cold water.
5. Gently pour milk into large stainless steel pot. Over low medium heat, bring the milk up to 85 degrees F.
6. Pour the citric acid mixture in and stir gently for 20 seconds. Continue heating milk to 100 degrees F. Add in the rennet mixture and stir using an up and down motion for 30 seconds. After the mixture reaches 105 degrees F, turn off heat, cover with a lid and let sit for 10 minutes.
7. Gently spoon the curds into the colander using the slotted spoon, allowing the whey to drain. Once the curds are all in the colander, press on the curds to extract more whey.
* 8. Dump the whey out of the microwaveable bowl and put the curds into the bowl. Microwave for one minute. Press to extract more whey and microwave again for 30 seconds.
9. Knead the curds until they become shiny. This could take up to 3 minutes.
10. Stretch the cheese and pull it. It should have the consistency of taffy. If it is not stretching, it might need to be heated up in the microwave (~30 seconds) again. The cheese will have to be at 130-135 degrees F in order to stretch.
11. Add the salt (to taste) and form into two balls or a dozen smaller balls.
*If you don't have a microwave, save the leftover whey and put back onto the stove top. Knead the curds and then form into little balls and gently submerge each ball (one at a time) into the boiling whey. The whey will need to be around 145 degrees in order for the cheese to get hot enough. Then stretch the cheese out, add the salt (to taste), and form into little balls. It will be really hot, so wear gloves.
I am not sure if it was because our cheese was kind of rubbery since we kneaded it too much, but it doesn't really melt very well. I am hoping this is just because it was over-kneaded, so when I try it again I will let you know.
This cheesemaking kit is perfect because it includes everything you need (except for the milk and water), but you could also just order the citric acid and rennet online if you want.