Cheese!

After trying to order a cheesemaking kit online and finding out they don’t ship to individuals and the nearest distributor is in Duncan, BC, I kinda gave up for a few weeks.  All I needed to make mozzarella was rennet, so I called around to every store I could think of and nobody even knew what rennet was.

On a whim, I looked up U Brew stores online where you make your own wine and beer.

They carried cheese kits too.  And rennet.

Huh.

Since all I needed was rennet, I got a kit that makes 8 different kinds of cheese, and it comes with rennet tablets.  I can get more from the store when I run out.

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I just happened to have a whole lot of skimmed milk sitting around, so I started with a double batch of mozza.  2 gallons of skimmed milk, half a rennet tablet and some citric acid (which I already had).

I warmed up the milk with the citric acid, then added the rennet and let it sit for 5 minutes.

The curd had a clean break, so I cut it into 1 inch squares.

So far so good!

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Then I heated up the whey and drained the curds out through cloth.

I was thinking about letting it drip overnight and finishing the next morning, but I kinda just wanted to finish.  I followed the recipe for stretching the cheese using a salt water bath, since I don’t have a microwave and wouldn’t adulterate good food even if I did have one.  That’s where things started to get screwed up.

The brine got too hot and I couldn’t get all the cheese out of the pot at the same time using every utensil I could think of.  It was too soft.  I think it got a little too hot.  It stretched too quickly to grab more than a little lump.  Eventually it cooled down enough that I could fish out most of the larger pieces.

I ended up with a slimy lump of cheese.

Fail.

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I confess, I did try some.

It was like eating a slimy booger.

Not that I know what that’s like.  I just imagine it was like eating a slimy booger.

Really salty too.

Sooo…I had to try again.  I had a LOT more milk to use up.

The second batch went swimmingly like the first one, only this time I didn’t heat the water up so much for stretching it, and I didn’t put salt in the water.  I tried working it into the cheese after I stretched it like some recipes do.

This time it looked a lot better.

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But when I tried it, it had an okay texture, but absolutely no flavour.

I guess the working-salt-in-at-the-end method didn’t work so well.

Third time’s the charm right?

I made some more, and everything went quite well.  I used a salt water bath for stretching again, I just didn’t add as much salt as the first time.

It turned out quite nice, but could’ve used more salt.

Then I made it again, adding a bit more salt to the water.

Again, it could’ve used more salt, but it was almost just right.

It’s texture is just a bit rubbery though and I don’t know how to fix that.

I had to take a little break cause I ran out of citric acid, but now I have a 2 year stash so I should be good for a while.  Until I run out of rennet.

Maybe 5th time’s the charm in this case?

Hope so.

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