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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cheese is NOT easy!

I was very lucky to receive several wonderful gifts for Christmas, but a couple of them are really for the homestead.  One gift, from my Father-In-Law is a pre-made raised bed kit.  I am so excited about this one - we have already starting talking about planting carrots and onions in it, since those veggies struggle in our hard clay.  Of course, we will have to wait until spring to get this one started.

But the other awesome, homesteady gift came from my husband.  He got me a Mozzarella and Ricotta kit!  The kit has everything I need to make 40 batches of mozzarella; all I need to do is buy the milk. I have been wanting one of these for a long time, and so jumped right into my first batch.

First you pour a gallon of milk into a pot and stir in citric acid.  Then you add rennet.

Once it heats to a certain temperature, you let it sit until it forms the curds.  These should pull away from the sides when you push at them.

Notice that mine did not.  I let it sit a few minutes more, but it still was custardy.  The printed directions just said a few minutes, so I decided to soldier on.  (I later looked at the website, which says let it sit for another 5-10 minutes.  That might have helped, as you will see later.)

Then you cut the curds and heat them again.  This is where it all started to go wrong for me. 

You put the curds in a strainer and then you are supposed to heat them again, then stretch the cheese to form the long protein strands.  Unfortunately, mine starting falling apart at this point.

In the end, the "cheese" I made is rather tasteless and crumbly, and looks remarkably like brains.

I guess it would function as a cheese spread, but I am pretty certain that I made zombie cheese.  (We should name this farm Zombie Acres, since our veggies, our cell phone, and now our cheese all seem to jump on the zombie train.)

I will try again with a new gallon of milk, but first I need to do some more reading.  As far as I can tell, my problems may originate in the milk.  I guess manufacturers are starting to over-heat milk out of fear of bacteria.  So even milk that isn't listed as "Ultra-Pasteurized" is darn close to being so.  Virginia has laws against selling raw milk, so I need to investigate our options for better milk.  But that is a post for another day.

Cheeeeese Braaaiiinnns!


  1. Yes that looks exactly like a brain. Guess that means eating cheese is good mind food? LOL don't give up it'll get easier.

  2. Thanks, Sue! Definitely going to try again, but I am also worried about stretching something that is 135' without boiling my hands! I guess I need practice.


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