Monday, August 06, 2012

Cheese It!

Make Cheese?
Yes, You Can!
It turns out that making cheese in your kitchen is REALLY EASY!
Now, it's possible to get very complicated and messy, and it's also possible for it all to go wrong. But that said, we stumbled into cheesemaking by chance and could not be happier!
The other week we stopped by a beermaking supply store just to look around, and in the corner was a cheesemaking kit: basically a recipe book, thermometer, package of rennet pills and packet of citric acid pills. Maybe there was some other stuff, but that's what counted.
Well, we sat on that for a while until we decided, heck, let's try it. We got a gallon of milk, taking care to ensure it was not "Ultra-Pasteurized" - according to the book, that would keep it from turning into cheese.
Kris followed the directions, which were basically to heat the milk up to around 90 farenheit, add the rennet, stir, after a while change the heat, stir, as it coalgulated chop it up, add the citric acid, stir and then dry out.
We ended up with a whole lot of whey, and more than a pound of the best mozzarela you've ever had, and this was on our first time!
We used the whey to make pizza dough - the dough was tangy and tasty!
The 2nd time we made cheese it didn't curdle all the way; we used cheaper milk and maybe it was ultra-pastreurized even though the label didn't say so. However, the result was something very much like ricotta; it was tasty on tomatoes we cooked on the grill, so it's hard to say that it was a failure; it was just a different kind of success.
We're looking forward to more cheese fun. I'm not sure whether the result is a big cost savings, since we have to buy milk, but it's a lot of fun and we are assured of very good quality. We plan to try adding herbs we grow in our garden to some locally-sourced, organic milk and see if we can taste the difference. One thing is for sure - you won't get fresher cheese anywhere. Try it!


CelloMom said...

That sounds good! I've no idea where to get rennet, but have followed an Indian recipe very much like yours except you add only lemon juice to the heated milk. If you wrap it in the cheesecloth and lean on it (well, maybe leave your cast iron pan on it) for two hours or so, you get lemon-flavoured paneer. Sometime we don't even bother to make up the spinach paste for palak paneer, the cheese just magically disappears right after school comes out...

Small Footprints said...

What fun! I just love learning to make things which I previously only ever considered buying. The really great thing is that you control the ingredients ... no hidden chemicals or strange sounding components. And it doesn't get more local than that! I love that line "a different kind of success". Brilliant!

Lisa Sharp said...

Yummy! I want to start making ricotta since it's said to be the easiest.

FYI I found you on Reduce Footprint's Meet & Greet Monday. :)