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