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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adventures in Cheesemaking: Mozzarella

I'M A CHEESEMAKER!! Yes, I made the cheese in that picture. That delicious, mozzarella cheese. With my own two hands.

And yes, I write about cheese a lot. I love cheese! At least I can admit to my addiction. Especially goat cheese. Mmmmm.

If I only had a goat to keep at home, I'd never have to buy cheese again. But I don't have room, or the desire to tend to a farm animal, so I buy the milk and make what I can.

I've done this before with paneer, which is a near-identical process to making ricotta. True, you make them with cow's milk and not goat's milk, but I take what I can get.

And when I found this incredible step-by-step picture tutorial, I couldn't wait to make mozzarella.

All you need is a gallon of milk, citric acid, liquid rennet, and salt. I found both the acid and rennet at Full O' Life in Burbank (and also ran into Heather Sinn from Ink Master, which was...strange) for about $15 total (and only used a teeny bit of each). So for a grand total of approximately $4, I made about a pound of fresh mozzarella.

It took a little longer than 30 minutes to make, but far less than 30 minutes to devour.

The tutorial is truly awesome, but after going through the process, I have a few suggestions:
  1. Do NOT forget the gloves. I did it with bare hands and HOT DAMN. There was much cursing.
  2. Using a two-piece pasta cooker, the kind with a removable insert, would prove helpful when trying to drain the whey. It's easier to lift the curds out than scoop them up with a slotted spoon.
  3. Double the recipe. That cheese disappears quickly!
  4. Eat it all. Don't share. It's really that good.
  5. Don't blame me when you get fat on homemade cheese. I'm just the messenger.
  6. Do it now. Don't wait. You can have fresh hot cheese within the hour! What are you waiting for?
Andrew Wilder's tutorial.

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