In the last couple of weeks, I have tried and failed twice to make mozzarella cheese in my kitchen. It’s supposed to be easy. They say you can do it in 30 minutes with a microwave, or slightly longer without. Here is a photo journal of my two attempts at cheese making. The first attempt actually went a bit better than my second. The pictures of my second try are in the thumbnails.
So without further ado, “How Not to Make Cheese” in pictures.
Step one: bike to local home brew store to buy rennet. I bought vegetable rennet tablets as that was all they had at the time. They do stock animal rennet, but were all out.
Step two: back at home, gather supplies including milk that has not been ultrapasturized.
Step three: heat milk to 55 degrees and add citric acid.
Step four: at 88 degrees, add rennet stirring with an up and down motion.
Step five: bring milk up to just over 100 degrees (some say 103 and some say 105).
Step six: Check that the curds and whey have separated. The whey should not still be milky, and if it is, let it heat a while longer. Note that the instructions for my first attempt did not include letting the curds and whey sit for 3-5 minutes, then cutting the curds with a knife. I tried this on my second attempt though.
Step seven: scoop curds out into a bowl.
Step eight: drain as much whey as possible back into the pot.
Step nine: press the cheese into a ball. Heat the whey and return the curds to the pot to heat. On my second attempt, the curds were too soft. I thought I’d try using some cheese cloth to keep them together while they were reheated. It didn’t work.
Step ten: knead the hot curds. Reheat as needed. Eventually the curds will hold together and get elastic. If they are crumbly, reheat some more. This is where my second attempt ended, with super hard, dried out curds that would not hold together at all.
Step eleven: admit defeat. After a hopeful beginning on my first attempt, the curds got all hard and dry and unworkable. Not sure what went wrong. On the second try, as I already mentioned, they got to this point MUCH more quickly.
Step twelve: feed the gross hard curds to the chickens along with the whey – they liked it all at least.
After my spectacular double failure, I was planning to give up cheese making completely, but Rick says I need to try again. If I do, I will try using animal rennet instead. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions for me on what the heck went wrong??