Two things. I made cheese. I am tired.
Okay, technically weeeee made cheese but either way, I am still tired. I always want (wanted?) this blog to be interesting to those who choose to spend, what I know are precious rare moments of time, here. And listening to me whine about how tired I am does not seem interesting to anyone. even me. (i may be too tired for capitalization at this point)
For my own reasons, I also don't like too many days going by before I share something here. So long story longer...I am too excited and too proud NOT to share the fact that I (we) made cheese but also too tired to express much narrative....so its just going to be a picture story today. Fulfills my need to post something, and still be informative. Because, I made cheese. C'mon. CHEESE.
I (ya, ya...we) also made pizza dough, tomato sauce and sausage to put our cheese upon.
I'm gonna be straight up honest here...it was not TO DIE FOR....dough was a bit heavy, sausage a bit dry and the cheese a bit bland. But my Mr. and I made it all from scratch, learned what to and not to do next time, and drank a bottle of wine (2007 Viader) we had been saving for something really special...and these days...
Making cheese is pretty special.
30 Minute Mozzarella (adapted from Simple Bites)
This was a great recipe, the only thing I would change is up the salt quite a bit more. His website has some great pictures that really help. Very fun, very simple.
- 1 gallon Milk, not ultra-pasteurized
- 1 1/2 tsp. Citric Acid powder, dissolved in 1/4 cup room-temperature water
- 1/4 tsp. Liquid Rennet or 1/2 tablet Rennet, dissolved in 1/4 cup room-temperature water
- 1 tsp. Cheese (Flake) Salt or Kosher Salt
1. Pour the milk in to a large pot. On medium-low, heat slowly to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir slowly and continuously to keep from scalding.
2. Once the milk reaches 55 degrees, pour in the citric acid mixture and stir well. Keep heating.
3. When the milk hits 88 degrees, add the rennet mixture and stir well. Right around this time the milk will start to thicken, and you’ll see little white flecks stick to your spoon as it starts curdling.
4. Once the milk is in the 90-degree range, it should be noticeably curdled. Stir very gently at this point, if at all — you want to encourage the curds to knit together.
5. Between 95 and 105 degrees, the curds will be quite thick. Turn off the heat once they start separating from the sides of the pot, and there’s a very clear distinction between the curds (white clumps) and whey (yellow liquid).
6. Let the curds rest for 5 minutes.
7. With a perforated or slotted spoon, ladle the curds into a bowl. The curds will continue expelling whey once they’re in the bowl, which is fine. Once you have pulled most of the curds out of the pot (some little bits will probably still be floating about), pour any excess whey back in the pot.
8. Using a microwave, heat the curds for 60 seconds. Drain off any excess whey, then fold the curds over once, then once again. This is to distribute the heat evenly.
9. Microwave again for about 30-40 seconds, depending on the strength of your microwave. Pour off the whey.
10. Sprinkle the salt onto the cheese, and then fold the curds over twice again. Put them back into the microwave for another 30-40 seconds. Pour of any excess whey.
11. At this point, the cheese should be very hot, and look like melted mozzarella!
12. Stretch the cheese, and then fold it back on itself. If it tears when you try to stretch it, the cheese is not hot enough; just repeat the microwaving process. Stretch it again once or twice. If you want a more string-cheese like cheese, do it a few more times.
13. You can then twist or braid the cheese, or tear off pieces and roll them into small balls. If you’re going to refrigerate the cheese for later, drop it in a bowl of ice water to get the temperature down quickly. Otherwise, just dig in while it’s still warm!