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Would You Hate Me If I Titled This Post “Say Cheese”?

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!

mozzarella

I used Fankhauser’s instructions this time, and it worked out a lot better. I also used minimally-processed milk from a local dairy. (Their milk is sold in glass bottles! Their cows have names!)

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!

12 comments to Would You Hate Me If I Titled This Post “Say Cheese”?

  • I am dying to try making cheese!! Ever since hearing about Ricki Carroll in Animal Vegetable Miracle… have you read her book as well?

  • georg

    Try a bag cheese like ricotta or farmer cheese first, then try cheddaring to make a hard cheese. In my experience, Mozzarella is difficult to make at home.

  • two silver cats

    What is that line from “Life of Brian”?

    Oh yes…

    “Blessed are the cheesemakers!”

  • Of course, there is no price per pound on the pride of “I did this myself!”
    And I was going to refer to “Blessed are the cheese-makers” too, but was beaten to it…

  • Northmoon

    This is going to be like your $7 eggs right? At this rate you’ll be able to make an $80.00 cheese omlet.

    I have to admit I’d like to try cheesemaking. I’d like to get sheep to milk for it though. You’re kind of cheating starting with milk already ;)

  • A mini fridge?! Don’t you live in the middle of nowhere? How do you do it?! My condiments alone would fill a mini fridge.

  • Your eggs are a little pricey too. ;)

  • moiraeknittoo

    I got some Golden Glen milk at one of the farmer’s markets this summer, and drank the entire quart in like an hour. OMG good. I nearly made myself sick but it was worth it for the tastiness. I also had their cream on an entire quart of strawberries. I nearly swooned in delight! I can’t wait to hear more about the cheese experiment!

  • Another Erika

    My problem with the mini fridges is the lack of a freezer. I also prefer to buy half gallons of things to save on money.

  • Whendi

    Did your “tastes like fridge” moodlet get you down?

  • Sarah

    I’ve made mozzarella 4 times so far, from Ricki Carroll’s kit. Two successes and two ricotta-esque something elses that still worked to top pizza. Keep experimenting an d do try different milks – I started with expensive farm stand milk in glass…didn’t work. Found out it was from a big dairy a state away. Normal cheap milk from the convenience store – worked like a charm. (I am looking for a good local source though.) Good luck! Oh…and try flattening it and rolling it up jelly-roll style with basil and sundried tomatoes. Heaven!

  • minnie

    i’ve always wantedto make cheese,but i’m too friggin’ impatient. and, as to the fridgequestion? i have 2. and 2freezers (of c ourse, i also have 2 teenage boys, lol)