Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Homemade Cheese

In my never ending quest to make great pizza, I figured the best way was to make everything myself. This brought me to making my own cheese. I was pointed to the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and their "easy" kits.

There is no question that purely from a step by step stand point, this was fairly easy...but from a culinary standpoint I have a greater appreciation that is cheese making. Cheese making is definitely one of those culinary adventures that balances the art and science. You are turning liquid milk, via some crazy chemical reactions, into solid cheese. It is cool process, but one that I surely need way more practice at. Luckily, the kit has enough to make another dozen recipes, so I have some time.

Here is the recipe that I used to make mozzarella, everything you need except the milk comes in the kit.

1 Gallon milk
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp citric acid
1/4 tablet rennet
1 tsp salt

Start by dissolving the rennet in 1/4 cup water and the citric acid in 1 cup water.

In a large stainless pot, add the milk and pour in the citric acid solution stirring to combine.

Heat the milk to 90 deg.

Take off heat and add the rennet and stir for about 30 seconds. Let rest with a lid for about 5 minutes.

This is where all that crazy chemistry happens, the solution should now for a curd, with a clear whey liquid.

Using a long knife slice the curd and return to the burner. Slowly heat the mixture to 110 deg while stirring.

Heat a pot of water to 185 deg. Pour off the whey and then strain the curds.

Dip the curds into the hot water to slowly heat it up to about 135 deg. At this point the cheese will be stretchy. Pull cheese and add in the salt.

After the stretching form a ball.

Submerge the cheese in cold water to cool off the cheese.

What better way to use it then on pizza.

So for my first attempt it wasn't exactly a huge success. The result was a but tough. I guess I need to try again.

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