Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adventures in Cheesemaking: Mozzarella
By sweinberger

When Shavuos comes around, a Kosher foodie’s thoughts often focus on cheese. “What cheeses are now available Kosher?” “What cheeses haven’t I tried yet?” “Where can I buy great cheese?” And my favorite “What’s the best cheesecake recipe?” (I have my personal favorite) This year, I decided to try something new - making my own cheese.

We’ve had posts from jabbett about cheesemaking experiments before. My cheese-tastes aren’t as adventurous as his, so I decided to make mozzarella. A no-brainer for a pizza-maniac like myself. To assist in this project I enlisted Kosherblog reader (and fellow Brooklyn-ite) velorutionary. Together with our wives we embarked on a cheese-making extravaganza.


* 5 gallons of un-homogenized milk from a local farm. If you order ahead, Ronnybrook Farms can provide 5 gallons of milk in a polybag. Creamline milk is un-homogenized - the cream floats on the top.
* Citric acid (aka sour salt). Available in the spices section of most groceries.
* Vegetarian liquid rennet
* Kosher salt

We followed a combination of instructions:

* New England Cheesemaking Supply Company (where I got the rennet)
* Fiasco Farm mozzarella and ricotta instructions
* Barbara Kingsolver’s instructions, from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Here are some pictures of the process:

A 5-gallon polybag of milk, being transferred to a 24 quart pot

The milk is curdling after the addition of citric-acid

Curd formation after the rennet is added

Fishing out curds

Draining the curds

Stretching the cheese….

And stretching it come more!

Finished mozzarella

Ricotta cheese

When we were finished (at about 2am!) we had almost 4 1/2 pounds of mozzarella, and as a bonus - just under 1 pound of ricotta. I believe that with experience, we could get better yields.

Despite my hopes that we would get soft, white, creamy, Italian-style mozzarella, we ended up with cheese very much like regular, American-style, supermarket mozzarella. It was much better than the bagged, pre-shredded, supermarket variety (and it had no preservatives), but the texture was similar. All in all, not a bad outcome. We made our own cheese! I used it on all of my pizzas made on Shavuos, and they were as popular as ever. I invite velorutionary to chime in and tell us what he did with his half of the dairy-bounty.

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