Friday, September 5

Recipe | Call me cheesy

I love cheese. No, wait. That's an understatement. Cheese has been a loyal friend throughout my life. Spicing up boring dinners, bringing comfort food to a whole nother level, just always there for me. The least I could do was learn a little bit about where he/she came from.

In actuality, I had gotten an email from Williams Sonoma about the clearance sale, and I couldn't resist going through it. I bought the queso fresco package, and loved it. Then I saw there was a mozzarella/ricotta set, and immediately bought it. I didn't know I needed it in my life until that very moment. I am so glad we met.

Boil everything you use including the cheesecloth to ensure no additional bacteria is introduced to the cheese making process.

This kit is actually prepared by another company called Urban Cheese Craft. They are an amazing group. They have a website that has a ton of tutorials by way of photos or videos. I know I used the Trouble/Tips section, or as I'd like to call it the "Omg, I spent way too many hours trying to make this, please save my butt before I have rotten cheese smell all over the house." If you're interested in their products or just checking them out, this is their website (here) and they also have an etsy store (here).

I made a point to take this photo, because when I was making the cheese, the thermometer stopped rising after awhile. I didn't understand it until I realized that the thermometer must have been stuck in the cheese after it coagulated. In the two times I made mozzarella, I noticed that around the time it hits a good temp, the cheese separates from the pot. When you see that, take the thermometer out, and place it in the crack to measure the pot's temperature. This will help ensure you don't overcook the cheese, and ruin your beautiful cheese baby.

It doesn't look like much, but it tastes RIDICULOUSLY good. I already bought these cute cheese trays that help keep cheese fresh for longer. I've already made mozzarella with basil, pepper flakes, and thyme. I can't wait to make more as gifts during the holidays!

    The Ingredients
       (source: Urbancheesecraft)

     1 gallon of milk
     1 ½ tsp  citric acid
     ¼  rennet tablet
     1 tsp cheese salt or to taste
     herbs  (optional)

     Large pot (at least 6 quart)

     Butter muslin (fine cheesecloth)
     Large slotted spoon
     Microwaveable bowl
     Rubber gloves (or large spoon)

     1 ½ lb

     The Instructions
  1. Dissolve ¼ rennet tablet into 1 cup of cool, chlorine-free water. Stir and set aside. Wrap the remaining pieces of tablet and store in the freezer.
  2. Mix 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid and 1 cup of cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.
  3. Pour 1 gallon of milk into your pot. Pour the citric acid solution in and stir thoroughly. Heat to 90°F, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
  4. At 90°F slowly stir in the rennet solution for approximately 20 seconds. Continue to heat to 105°F (110°F if you will use the water bath).
  5. Your curds could already show clear signs of coagulation- as the temperature increases to 105df, the curd can start to look like shiny yogurt with a clear separation between curds and whey when a spoon or knife is slipped in.
  6. Ladle your curds into a microwave or heat-resistant bowl, and put on your rubber gloves.
  7. Gently fold the curds over several times and evenly distribute the heat. Drain off any released whey into the pot.
  8. Microwave for another 30 seconds. Drain again and knead the curd gently- try stretching. It must be 135°F to stretch properly. If it isn’t hot enough, microwave for another 30 seconds.
  9. Add your salt (I like 1.5 tsp or so) plus any herbs and work into the cheese. Mix it in by stretching and folding about 10 times.
  10. Stretch the cheese until it is smooth and shiny. Shape into a ball or whatever shape your heart desires.

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