Adventures in Cheese

After visiting Eataly a few weeks ago and watching it made fresh, we decided it’d be fun to try making our own mozzarella. Frank went to a home brew store and bought some citric acid, calcium chloride, cheese salt and vegetable rennet tablets.  It comes as a little kit.

Fun Fact:  

These things together help simulate the chemical cocktail inside a goat’s stomach, which is the old way of making mozzarella. Since we didn’t have a goat’s stomach handy, and didn’t want to sit around for 4 days while the cheese fermented, we chose the route made available by modern technology.  Purists we are not.

 

Here’s how it worked, more or less. (Hint: less. This is in no way a comprehensive guide to making cheese.)

Step 1: First you open the box.

Step 2: Put a gallon whole milk in a stainless steel pot. Then mix the citric acid and some distilled water:

Then add it to the milk and heat the mixture to 88 degrees. This is where we went wrong; our recipe said 100 degrees. We agree now that it was too hot.

Next, mix a rennet tablet with more distilled water. We used 1/2 tablet, but the OTHER set of directions said to use a whole.

Hi. Here we are. This ever-so-flattering pic is just to prove that I was there, too. I’m usually Girl Behind Camera. If you’re wondering why we look so shiny & glamorous, it’s because the AC was out that day. When we went to bed, it was 90 degrees. Lovely! (I’m sure heating up the kitchen with our cooking adventure didn’t help much.)

After 20 minutes, the cheese is supposed to look like solid, creamy cheese.  Not like this. Our solution was to throw in the other 1/2 tablet and let it sit some more.

Finally, the cheese started to take shape. You can see that it’s still a little gritty, but Frank’s molding it into submission.

That’s the stuff!

 

Now to chill/set the cheese for about 2 minutes.

 

Et Voila!

How’d it taste? Weeelllllll….I didn’t love it, but it was okay. Frank insists it’s purely a texture problem, but it did leave a little bit of a weird aftertaste.  We’re going to try it again, using a different recipe and sticking with the 88 degree ceiling. Stay tuned.

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