Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

March 30, 2011

Cheese making at home

A~ and I took an opportunity to attend a cheese making class the weekend before last and had a great time. If you're following me on Facebook you may remember me posting something about it. (If you're not, don't delay, I'm making an effort to get more regular posts up there in a timely manner.) Well we had a great time.
Demonstrating the process of making mozzarella

The class was being taught by a man that started one of our very favorite local cheese companies, Beehive Cheese, and was covering the obvious first timer cheese of choice, mozzarella. This was perfectly fine with us since, with summer knocking on the door, we wanted to get a few tricks as to how to make this family favorite so we could add it to our repertoire to enjoy with fresh garden tomatoes this year. The class covered the basics of course, but we did manage to learn a couple of good tricks too. For instance, did you know that even just a couple of drops of milk in normal tap water is enough to negate the effects of the chlorine in it? That's nice to know. Another good tip was to mix your citric acid into a 1/4 cup of water (with a drop of milk in it...) to dissolve it before adding it to the milk. You should also do the same thing for your rennet. The reason for this is to allow the ingredient to be introduced to the milk more gently so to speak. Rather than the shock of a direct hit of citric acid, you can ease it into the milk this way.
Prepping all ingredients. Milk & diluted citric acid and rennet.

Since we were newly educated and wanted to put our new info to use to really reinforce it into out minds we went ahead and made ourselves a batch of fresh mozzarella and ricotta this weekend. We learned a couple of things during this process. 1. If we're going to be making cheese, even just the basic mozzarella and ricotta, we need to get some specific equipment. Namely a large fine meshed strainer and some good quality cheese cloth. (The kind for actually making cheese with, not the flimsy crap from the mega-mart.) 2. The final step in making the mozzarella is to heat the curd and "knead" it until it turns to the silken texture and stiff dough-like consistency of good mozzarella.During this part of the process, there is a time to stop when the cheese has formed... I passed that point slightly and the dough was a little on the rubbery side but still very tasty. I'll chalk this error up to simple inexperience. Overall, I really enjoyed the class and the cheese that we made as a testament to having learned something at it. now I'm looking forward to the lasagna that we'll be having with our fresh cheese! Here's a few pictures of our home cheese making process in the works. Buon appetito!!
First, heat milk slowly to 55 deg... then add citric acid and stir...

Continue heating to 88 deg (F) then add rennet..stirring in.. then let sit while curd forms and increase temp to 98

strain off the whey leaving only curds...

heat curd, continue pouring off whey and knead till silken and dough like...

Separate into serving sizes if you'd like and store in fridge. (or eat right away)

We also made ricotta from another half gallon of milk. The steps are even easier:
Heat milk in a microwave safe bowl until it reaches between 190 - 200 Deg (F), then stir in 1/4 cup vinegar per qt of Milk. This will separate the curds off almost immediately.

After lettin the curd separate for 20-30 minutes, strain off whey and store the ricotta.. BAM! that easy.

The leftover whey from both processes is still a very high nutrient supplement. If you have chickens or livestock they will love it! Waste not want not.

Till Next Time.


Brenda The Bregle Rebel Bag Lady said...

wow uber-cool

Moonwaves said...

I really must get around to trying this out soon. I love mozarella. Although I'm not too sure about how easy it would be to reach the different temperatures using an electric cooker - still, getting a decent thermometer would be a good start perhaps.

Don't do facebook, sorry. Although I did recently sign up for twitter so if you're on that, I'd follow you there :)

Carolyn said...

I would love to do this.

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