I’ve decided that cheesemaking will be my winter project this year. By the time spring rolls around, I want to have made a giant wheel of homemade cheese. Like, ridiculously large. So I’d better start by mastering the mozzarella!
The resulting mozzarella turned out pretty well, BUT. But I didn’t realize that it would “puddle” when I put it in the fridge. I just dropped the nice ball of cheese into a bowl and stuck it in the fridge overnight. I then forgot all about it for several days.
In fact, I had still forgotten about it when I spied the bowl. For just a second, I got really excited, because I thought I had opened up a can of sweetened condensed milk for my coffee. Once I open a can of sweetened condensed milk I pour it into a bowl and put it in the fridge, and that’s just what my mozzarella looked like – a thick pool of some off-white substance.
In Fankhauser’s instructions, Simon didn’t say “wrap it in plastic.” Well duh. So the top half of the cheese dried out and got kinda crusty, and the whole thing picked up a weird “off” flavor from the fridge. (As I type this, the fridge is defrosting so that it can be properly cleaned.)
(By the way, it’s a real feat to have lost something in the fridge for two days, since I only have a mini-fridge. Which I understand is perfectly normal in Europe and Britain, but will get you horrified looks in the States. All I can say is, it IS possible, makes you very efficient with the food, and after three years with it I have to wonder what the hell are you people putting in those gigantic refrigerators?)
Err, what was I saying? Oh right, so the second batch of mozzarella turned out… meh. Tasty as a caprese sandwich, but let’s be honest, that’s mostly about the delicious bread and the farmer’s market tomatoes.
I also set aside the whey, to make ricotta. Except that it spent two days in the coldest part of the fridge, and ended up half freezing, and when I warmed it up it didn’t foam like it’s supposed to. So I poured it onto the compost pile, and no tears were shed.
Today at the grocery store I noticed that you can buy a pound – a whole pound! – of mozzarella for $6. Which oddly enough is actually less than I paid for the milk to make a pound at home. Why am I doing this again? Oh right, the promise of a giant wheel of cheese ALL MINE!