This past week we went to a very unique store called Jungle Jim's. People call it a foodies paradise because they have almost any type of food you can imagine. The purpose of the trip was to get some cheese making supplies. We bought citric acid, rennet, and some muslin cloth to use as a cheese cloth. I wish they would have had some cultures but oh well, I guess I will have to order those online.
To make Mozzarella I used the following:
1/2 gallon of whole milk
1 teaspoon citric acid
1/8 teaspoon rennet dissolved into 1/8 cup water
I put the milk and the citric acid in my enamel pot, (I decided to try doing it without using a double boiler). I started to slowly heat the milk to 88 degrees. The only problem was that when I went to grab the digital food thermometer I found out it did not work and that the other two food thermometers (a meat thermometer and a candy thermometer) do not go down to 88 degrees. So I thought I would just go by feel. So when I thought it was 88 I put in the rennet and started heating the milk up to 105 degrees.
Here you can see the curds and whey separating. After it got to what I thought was 105 degrees I took it off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. In this recipe after you let it cool down you spoon all the curds out with a slotted spoon into a microwave safe bowl. I did this but could never get very much curds. After you do get enough curds you are suppose to put it in the microwave and a few other things. Since I did not get enough curds I decided to make ricotta. In most cheese recipes you can use the whey to get some whey ricotta. So I heated the whey up to 200 degrees using the meat thermometer. I took it out and put it into the muslin cloth. And set it up to hang. This allows the whey to completely drain from the curds.
After letting it sit for about 10 minutes I took it out of the muslin and actually had my first succes in cheese making.
After putting a little salt on it it tasted really good. The next day we had a salad using the ricotta and fresh tomatoes from our garden. It tasted really good and I even took some to work the next day. I was very excited to finally have some success even though it came from a failure. A good lesson in never giving up.
I plan to try Mozzarella again this weekend after buying a new thermometer. I look forward to hopefully getting it right this time.
To answer a question asked on my last post. Parm will take about 10 months to age. I will just put it downstairs in my basement in a small fridge we have down there. Out of sight, out of mind. What I think will be harder is when I do a cheese like a cheddar that you only have to age for 1 month but the longer you wait the better it gets. I think I would be very tempted early to taste it. I guess I will just have to make enough to split the batch into different "aging" blocks. One to use soon, one to use in 6 months, and maybe one to use in 1 year. But for both of these I will have to wait till I get a cheese press.