We made mozzarella cheese the other day. Seriously! The Wise and Bearded One had seen these kits at the Urban Farm Store and we both thought they looked like a lot of fun to try so we bought one.
The recipe is calculated to work with one gallon of milk, so with our gallon of milk in hand we proceeded to attempt to make our first intentional batch of cheese. (We won't talk about the nasty curdled, unintentional messes we've made a few times in the past. Yuck!)
The ingredients are simple: citric acid, rennet, cheese salt, and milk. The directions are few. It just requires a thermometer and some attention to detail. Fortunately, the Wise and Bearded One was there to take care of the detailed piece since I'm more a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl in the kitchen.
Here's a picture "cutting the cheese" and then seeing the curds separate from the whey. Having never made cheese before I didn't realize what a nasty, greenish liquid whey is. The kit had recommendations for what you could do with the whey, but since it skeeved us out we threw the whey away. (Say that line three times fast!)
After the curds and whey separated, we squished out as much of the whey as possible and then kneaded the curd for a while until--voila!--it turned into cheese. Two balls (or since all I do these days is breastfeed--they look a little more like silicone breast implants to me...sick, I know).
It was good cheese. It tasted just like the fresh mozzarella you can buy at the gourmet grocery store. Next time I think we'll put in a little more salt and some herbs from the garden....dill? rosemary?...just to make it extra special.
We sliced up the cheese and served it with fresh basil from our garden and some tomatoes for a caprese salad when our friends came over for a cook-out. Yum!
If you are intrigued by this, you don't have to live in Portland to buy a cheese making kit. Urban Cheesecraft also sells on Etsy. There's the kit for mozzarella/ricotta that we used, plus kits for paneer/queso blanco and goat cheese/chevre. Yummy! These would also be great gifts for your foodie friends....that brother-in-law that watches Alton Brown religiously, the girlfriend who makes her own bread, perfect gift!
This post is part of the Go Local Challenge hosted by my blogger-friend, Heather Jane. You can find out more about the challenge here.