Making home-made cheese is fun and relatively easy, especially if you start with the soft, fresh cheeses.
Hubs and I have taken several cheese classes and I’m proud to say that we make some mighty tasty chevre, fromage blanc and ricotta. A while back, feeling a little cocky about our cheese making abilities, hubs and I attempted to up the ante with a mozzarella class. That was a whole new ball of wax (er…cheese) entirely.
Here’s how our mozzarella making adventure went ~
A large pot for heating water and milk
A bowl for working curds
Rubber Gloves, cheese cloth, a dairy thermometer and a colander
Two large spoons
Ingredients: Milk (good quality, non-homogenized), citric acid, rennet, flake salt
Slowly heat the milk to a temp of 90-100 ˚. Remove from heat, stir in the rennet and let it set for 15-20 minutes. It will separate into curds (solid) and whey (liquid).
Cut the curds into 1″ squares and using a colander and cheesecloth, drain the whey.
Now the fun begins! Stretch the curds to make the cheese.
Once the stretching phase is complete, you shape the cheese. It may be kneaded into a round ball, separated into strands and braided or layered with basil leaves or thin slices of salami and rolled up like a jelly roll. Chill your fancy shapes in a bowl full of ice water briefly to firm them up.
Slice a few garden fresh tomatoes and basil. Toast up some crostinis.
And Voilá! Heaven on a plate in less than two hours from start to finish.
It’s mouth watering good and definitely hubs approved.
Of course, it always goes without saying that a glass of vino pairs well with every kind of cheese. We tasted and toasted until there was nothing left.
If you want to try making your own cheese, ricotta is about as easy as it gets. And believe me when I say it tastes nothing like the stuff that comes in a plastic container at the grocery store. Google cheese making classes in your town. If you live in Portland, I highly recommend all of the classes at Portland Homestead Supply in Sellwood. They have cheese making supplies too. And finally, every home cheese/yogurt/kefir/ maker should have a copy of Ricki Carroll‘s outstanding book Home Cheese Making.
Warning! Learning how to make cheese led me to exploring bread making. It’s a slippery slope of tasty goodness from there. Where will it lead? I don’t know, and I can’t wait to find out.