Monday, October 24, 2011

Say cheese

Have you ever eaten truly fresh American mozzerella? I have and it is incredible. Warm and chewy, I've never seen a batch that's lasted more than 10 minutes. We don't even bother to put it on crackers or bread or melt it over a basil-topped tomato. Making a mozzerella cheese is harder than making soft cheeses like chevre or labneh (or yo-cheese as we call it) but it's a lot of fun, especially the kneading and stretching part. I'm definitely still a beginner at cheesemaking, but it is a great family activity and especially easy if you have access to a lot of great milk. For easy mozzeralla, you'll need to find two tricky ingredients and two easy ones. The easy ones; milk and salt. A gallon of store-bought cow's milk will work just fine and produce about 1 pound of cheese. I prefer whole milk. The less common ingredients are citric acid and rennet. You may be able to find these at a regular grocery store, you'll just have to look. I found citric acid in the bulk spice bin at my local Sprouts. I ordered liquid rennet from Dairy Connection Inc., a cheesemaking supply store, but you may find Junket tablets locally in the pudding and Jello section. Either animal or vegetable rennet will work. I won't describe the whole process because others have already done it with great pictures and explanations. This 30 minute Mozzarella recipe at is a great one. Another excellent site for cheesemaking is FANKHAUSER'S CHEESE PAGE which will walk you through the whole process of cheesemaking from beginner to advanced.

Let me know if you try making cheese!

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