Itza Mozza!

Success, success, full success (name that movie)!  So…turns out it was the milk.  I decided to go all out and buy a ‘fancy’ 1/2 gallon of non-pasteurized milk from Whole Paycheck.  I also decided to play it safe and add a bit of calcium chloride to my recipe just in case – although I think it probably wasn’t necessary based on the quality of my milk.  Oh well – it was delish.  So, here it is, using the recipe/video from the Austin Homebrew (split in 1/2):

  • 1/2 gallon milk
  • 1/4 tablet rennet (mixed in cold water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid (mixed in cold water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sodium chloride (I used a bit less)

While heating the milk I added the sodium chloride and citric acid mixtures and stirred frequently.  As soon as the mixture hit 88° I added in the rennet mixture.  I could tell the difference immediately as the break was already starting to form.  Instead of leaving it to sit, I continued to stir as the recipe called for until around 98 – 105°.  Then I let it sit for around 20 minutes.  At 20 minutes I drained the curd through a collander which was placed inside a pot with heated water (175°).

About to stretch

This is where I deviated from the Austin Homebrew method, since we do not own a microwave, and used Ricki’s online method.  The hot water was used to ‘stretch’ the mozzarella so it could be kneaded and molded.  After a couple of soaks and kneads, this is what it looked like:

Loaf of Mozzarella

And for  the final product – the ball of glory (ahhhh – think celestial sounds coming from above with rays of light):

If you live in San Francisco…

I highly recommend these two shops for your citric acid/rennet/calcium chloride needs:

http://www.rainbowgrocery.org/

http://www.sanfranciscobrewcraft.com/

The SF Brewcraft guys were super nice.  While I can’t afford a new hobby/addiction – I know that if I was to get into beer and winemaking next, this is a place I would frequent.  Thia is a low key place where they were sitting down with customers to help them plan out their next custom beer recipe.  There aren’t many places that I know of that would take this time and effort.

Mozza Mania!

I happened to use this website as a guide for my first attempt at making mozzarella –

http://www.cheesemaking.com/

As far as I can tell, she is a guru among cheese making enthusiasts.  My recipe included the following:

  • 1/2 gallon of Clover milk (Vitamin D), past
  • Citric acid dissolved in 1/8 cup of cool water
  • Rennet dissolved in 1/8 cup of cool water

I followed this method –

http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/123.html

Quite frankly, it didn’t work out at all.  I never achieved a break and ended up straining most of the non formed curds to salvage what I could.  The bummer of it is I followed this recipe verbatim.

So, after some thought this is where I think I could have gone wrong.

  • Maybe I should have used distilled water
  • More or less rennet or citric acid
  • Different kind of milk

After doing some research, I found some forum discussions that most people had had similar experiences with this recipe as well as the ’30 minute mozzarella kit’.  Turned out it was my milk.

Even though this is probably obvious to most, I didn’t realize the actual effect of milk and calcium loss through pasteurization.  Thankfully, I stumbled on these gems:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f130/

http://www.appropedia.org/Traditional_Cheesemaking

I will attempt again tomorrow using a combination of the recipe/method from David Fankhauser, and Austin Homebrew.

Looking for a cheese press….

Considering these:
http://www.thecheesemaker.com/presses.htm

http://schmidling.com/press.htm

Second Attempt – Neufchatel

Found recipe on David Fankhauser’s beginning cheesemaking (etc) site (http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML).  For my supplies, all I really used was milk, rennet and buttermilk.  As I understand it, buttermilk is a DL-Culture and optimum growth temperatures are typically 20-30C.    Applications include most hard and semi-hard yellow cheese types, butter making, sour cream,  and buttermilk. I Decided to follow David’s tiered ‘program’ and made Neufchatel.  You have to appreciate his minimalist approach to learning about and making quality cheese at home.  For this recipe this is what I did:

  • Whole milk (1/2 gallon) of ‘Clover’ milk
  • About 1/8 cup buttermilk cultured for starter
  • 1/4 tablet rennet

*Long side-note and interesting history on rennet:

HISTORY OF RENNET: Presumably, the first cheese was produced by accident when the ancients stored milk in a bag made from the stomach of a young goat, sheep or cow.  They found that the day-old milk would curdle in the bag (stomach), yielding solid chunks (curds) and liquid (whey).  Once they discovered that the curd-chunks could be separated out and dried, they had discovered a means by which milk, an extremely perishable food, could be preserved for later use. The addition of salt was found to preserve these dried curds for long periods of time.  At some point, someone discovered that the most active portion of the young animal’s stomach to cause curdling was the abomasum, the last of the four chambers of the stomach of a ruminant animal.  (In sequence, the four chambers are rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.)  In particular, the abomasum from a suckling kid or calf was especially active.  The abomasum was cut it into strips, salted and dried.  A small piece would be added to milk in order to turn it into curds and whey.

…continued

  • Heated milk/buttermilk to around 60-65° and added water/rennet solution in a large pot.  For the rennet solution, I took one cup of cold water and mixed in around 1/4 rennet tablet.
  • I left this overnight and was able to get a clean break!
  • I cut this the next morning in 1-2 inch blocks with a sharp knife.
  • After cutting, I drained/scooped out the curds with a slotted spoon and put them in a cheese cloth over a colander.
  • A few minutes later I gathered the ends of the cloth and rigged it up through a chopstick and hung to drain
  • After around 14 hours I molded in a tupperware, added some salt and it was ready!

Tasted great with crackers, especially triscuits!/.  Had a tasted similar to cream cheese only fresher and it certainly tasted better.  Not too bad after my second attempt ever!

First attempt – random soft cheese

January 17th –

So I found this recipe, or video recipe if you will, on a google search.  And of course I was inspired to try my hand in making the best cheese ever!

Mr. You-Tube fellow proceeded to explain a simple way to make a soft cheese.  This was my process:

  • Milk 2%
  • Tiny bit of yogurt

I mixed the milk and yogurt and heated to 160° until there was a ‘break’.  I then scooped out the curds and drained in a colander lined with a paper towel.  I left this out overnight and woke up the next morning to a yogurty tasting sort of cream cheese.  Not half bad for my first attempt.