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Old 01-18-2010, 05:30 AM   #1
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Default First cheese try=success!

Tried my hand at making cheese today--made the 30 minute mozzarella from Ricki Carroll's book, which I got for Christmas. No major problems and very easy...although I think the "30-minute" handle is a bit wishful. It took more like 90 minutes start to finish. I was going slow on heating the milk so I wouldn't overshoot it, but I can see how if you had made a lot on the same stove you could cut down the heating time. Also if you had all your utensils out & ready beforehand, you might get this down to a half-hour.

Regardless, it turned out very well. Some observations:

--I didn't have citric acid on hand, so I used jamesnsw's idea and subbed 1/3 cup of lemon juice. The recipe said dissolve a teaspoon of citric acid in 1/2 cup water, so I just added water to the lemon juice to make up 1/2 cup.

--Recipe said let it sit for 5 minutes or until curd formed a clean break. Took more like 15 minutes for mine, but it did work.

--I just used regular Walmart store brand whole milk. No problems. I noticed that the expensive brands and organic milk were more likely to be ultrapasteurized.

--Mine tastes OK but more salt would have been better. The recipe called for 1 teaspoon and I was nervous about varying the recipe so I stuck with that, but it really could have used at least another half-teaspoon if not a little more. But in a recipe or on buttered toast I think it'll be fine.

--This time I discarded the whey, but next time I think I'll try to heat it on up and capture the rest of the solids as ricotta.

All in all, a great fun experience! Tonight I had some homemade mozzarella on wheat crackers with a glass of homemade apfelwein. Doesn't get much better than that

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Old 01-24-2010, 03:19 AM   #2
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Tried a second batch tonight. This time I made panir (paneer), Indian cheese without rennet. Much tastier than the mozzarella from last week, although I like the texture of the mozzarella better. Actually it was somewhere in between panir and queso fresco. I made up a gallon of nonfat dry milk and added a pint of half & half to it. The queso recipe called for 1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar to set the curd. Instead I used a mix of some orange/kumquat infused vinegar and some of the vinegar from a jar of pickled garlic. Brought the milk up to 190*F, added the vinegar (why do I want to say "pitched" the vinegar here?) and kept on the heat till I started getting a clear whey. Then I ladled the curds into a cheesecloth, hung it up for about half an hour, rolled it up in the cloth and pressed between two plates weighted with a 2-liter drink. After a couple of hours I had a nice firm round of cheese. The taste is great--much fuller & richer than the first batch. Think I found myself another hobby!

The only problem is trying to figure out how to press this into a better shape--the folds in the cheesecloth make weird lumps and dips. But I guess that will come with practice.

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Old 02-01-2010, 12:20 PM   #3
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Kids and I made Mozz again this weekend. Went better than last time. I got the instructions from a BYO or Zymurgy magazine, but they were basically the same as the instructions I had used before.

I agree it could use a bit more salt.

I used Country Fresh whole milk and it curded a bit better than last time, but still "grainy" like cottage cheese to start. Once I warmed it up in the micro, it integrated better and got stringy. Everyone said it was good, but you know it's mozzarella, but it's better with stuff.

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Old 02-01-2010, 01:06 PM   #4
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If your having problems with curding try to find a nearby dairy farm and get it straight from the cow. The first time I made 30 min mozz. I used whole milk from the store and I got the same grainy texture to my fresh mozz. The second time I got milk from the farm and pastuerized it myself (very easy to do.) I've been using raw milk ever since. The Mozz. was so strechy and taffy like I could pull it to about 3 ft long without it breaking. The texture was almost spot on fresh mozz. The only difference was the way i stored the fresh mozz. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge. If I stored it in brine I'm sure it would have been exactly like store bought.

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