This post is kind of in line with that because the best way to know what's in your food is to make it yourself!
My family came to visit me last week, and we had a lot of fun. I begged them to come keep me company, since Dennis was taking a class in New Orleans all week.
While they were here, we tried out making mozzarella cheese.
I had made it with a friend once before, but never with me in charge, and I was thinking it would take a few tries to get it right. It turns out, it's really super easy, and a lot of fun. It took about 45 minutes total, and the cheese tastes really great. It is totally hands-on, though, meaning that there isn't really a point during the process that you can just walk off and go read a book or do your nails or anything like that. It's also a lot easier if you have a helper. I think that this would make a great homeschool project and, in fact, my younger sister wrote a report on this when we were done.
Now I'm new at this, so if you want to make your own mozzarella cheese, I suggest that you do some research for yourself and just use this post as a reference. Here's a good place to start reading up on cheese making, if you're interested.
Here's how we did it:
Thanks to my brother, Wayne for helping me with the cheese making process.
1 gallon raw, whole milk (I don't know if you can use pasteurized milk, we use raw at our house for everything)
1/4 tablet of rennet or 1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet
1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid
1 1/4 cups non-chlorinated water (filtered, bottled, spring, well, etc.)
1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt
a pot big enough to hold 1 gallon plus a little more (with room for stirring)
measuring cups and spoons
a large spoon
a large knife
a large microwavable bowl
a food thermometer
1. Dissolve the rennet into 1/4 cup of of cool, non-chlorinated water.
2. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid into 1 cup cool, non-chlorinated water.
3. Pour 1 gallon milk into the pot and stir in the citric acid water.
4. Heat on medium to 90F while stirring.
5. Remove from heat and slowly stir rennet into your milk in an up and down motion for about 30 seconds.
6. Cover the pot and wait 5 minutes.
7. Check the curd. It should be the consistency of custard. (This is where it gets fun because the consistency changes and you start to go "Whoa, it's really working, I'm making cheese!")
8. Cut the curd into several pieces, about 1 to 2 inch squares using a knife that will reach the bottom of your pot. (just leave it in the pot to cut it, it doesn't have to be precise)
9. Place the pot back on medium heat and heat to 105F while slowly stirring.
10. Take off the burner and continue slowly stirring for 2 minutes.
11. Pour off the floating whey. (this is where the colander comes in handy) Save your whey!
You're almost done! I know it's a lot of steps, but it goes really fast, I promise!
12. Place your curds in a large microwavable bowl and drain off as much whey as you can, but don't worry about getting it all yet. (Save your whey!)
13. Microwave for 1 minute.
14. Remove and drain off as much whey as you can again, folding the curds into one piece and folding in 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt as you go. (Save your whey!)
15. Microwave another 30 seconds. Drain again.
16. Stretch the cheese by pulling like taffy, Don't work it too much, or it will get tough.
17. Now shape your cheese into a ball.
18. Fill your bowl with ice water and drop the cheese in. This will help it hold its shape.
Eat some right away, it's delicious!
Here are some photos my sister took of the process (thanks, Mattie!). We didn't get a photo of the finished product, but you know what a ball of mozzarella looks like anyway, I bet! I also don't have a photo of the stretching of the cheese, but maybe you can just imagine it?
Stirring in the citric acid. (Step 1)
Looks like custard! (Step 7)
Cutting into squares. (Step 8)
Pouring off the whey. (Step 11) (Saved the whey!)
Folding in the salt. (Step 14)
For real, this is easy. If you want, come on over and I'll show you how to do it. After all, if I help you make it, I get to help you eat it, right?
If you want to know where to get the rennet and citric acid, Cultures for Health is the resource I use. They have tons of great articles and are prompt in answering any question you may have for them, too. I ordered from them a few weeks ago, and my shipment came in within a couple of days. You can also orders supplies for making kombucha from them.
I just became a Cultures for Health affiliate, meaning that I receive a commission for any orders made from clicking on their website through my blog. If you decide to order some cheesemaking supplies, please come back and click through my blog to do so. Pretty please? Thanks!
Now, why did I keep telling you to save your whey? You'll just have to come back on Friday to see why!