Taking a break from photography, but maybe I should have taken some to document my first efforts into cheesemaking! Yesterday, we headed to the Jackson Farmer’s Market and picked up a gallon of raw cow’s milk. Probably didn’t need such high quality milk, but I could trust that the whole milk at the supermarket wasn’t Ultra-pasteurized, which is a great way to keep milk from spoiling commercially, but breaks down the buttermilk cells that we want to make curds for cheese; as I was going to try my hand at one of the simpler cheeses – mozzarella!
This cheese as so easy! I should have tried my hand at this years ago! Dump the milk in a big pot, add some diluted calcium chloride and start heating. At the proper temperature, add just a little rennet (1/4 of a standard tablet), give it a quick stir (30 stirs!) and pull the pot off the heat, and let it sit for five minutes. I let it go another 5 as it didn’t look quite set enough, it probably was, but it was my first attempt. Then we had to cut the curd into big chunks, start slowly heating back up to 190F and stirring gently.
At this point it was pretty much like one big sticky glob and tons of whey! I was amazed at how much why was left over, it nearly filled the two half-gallon jugs back up! Anyway, to finish the mozzarella, we now had to just work on extracting whey and heating the the cheese to 210F. This was accomplished via short trips to the microwave and stretching. When the magical temperature was reached, salt was added and folded in, this pretty much set the cheese, and I quickly had to figure out how I wanted to finish it. I elected two small balls, but they deflated, so next time I will put them into a cheesecloth “bag” and hang them to get them round. I’m also thinking smaller balls and them put them into olive oil!
Anyway, there really isn’t any reason not to make this cheese, the whole process took less than 90 minutes and the cheese is great! Next up is a Colby cheese that will take more milk and more technique. There should also be much more whey, so I can try my hand a farmer’s butter and ricotta cheese.