Today’s post comes to you courtesy of the lovely Jen P, who you also find at The Urban Spindle.
I haven’t done any of those things yet, but in my research I discovered this cool little Etsy shop that sells cheese making kits. If making cheese isn’t the perfect leap into homesteading, I don’t know what is.
After buying the kit (cute as it is) I realized it’s actually not that hard to make cheese on your own. There is info available all over the inter-webs, and the ingredients aren’t that hard to find.
Wikipedia says, “cheese making may originate from nomadic herdsmen who stored milk in vessels made from sheeps’ and goats’ stomachs.” I find this ideal because I’m secretly obsessed with hobos (which we could call nomadic herdsmen) but I live in an age where sheep and goat stomachs have little use.
All hail the Pyrex container.
How to Make Your Own Mozzarella
- 1 gallon milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 1/2 tsp citric acid
- 1/4 rennet tablet
- 1 tsp cheese salt
- Any herbs you’d like to flavor your cheese
- A large pot, large slotted spoon, candy thermometer, and rubber gloves.
I have heard you can find rennet in the pudding aisle at the grocery store. I have never looked for it because I have so much in my kit, but I have also seen places you can order it online. The citric acid is often used for canning, and you can find it next to the canning supplies at most large grocery stores.
1. Dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet into 1 cup water. Make sure it’s chlorine free- I use filtered water. You can keep any extra rennet in the freezer for up to 5 years!
2. Mix 1 1/2 tsp citric acid into 1 cup of the chlorine free water until dissolved.
3. Pour the milk into your pot. Pour the citric acid in and stir thoroughly. Heat to 90°, stirring occasionally.
4. At 90°, stir in the rennet mixture with a slow up and down motion for about 30 seconds. Keep heating until you reach 110°.
5. Your curds should already show clear signs of coagulation, like this:
6. Stir gently for another minute and turn off the heat.
7. Ladle your curds into a heat-resistant bowl. They should look like this:
8. Turn your stove back on and heat your liquid to 185°, then remove your pot from the stove. Shape your curds into two balls.
9. Take one of your curd balls and dip into the pot for 1-3 minutes, or until your curds hit 135° at the core. Once you hit the right temperature, put on your rubber gloves and get ready to stretch that cheese!
10. Now for the fun part. Add half your salt, plus any herbs you want to your cheese ball. From here, start stretching your cheese and then folding it. Stretch, fold, repeat. Stretch, fold, repeat. The more you do this, the firmer your cheese will be. It’s really difficult to stretch, fold, and take pictures, but here’s a snapshot of my stretch right before it hit the counter:
Now shape your Mozzarella into a ball and repeat with the other set of curds. We like to use crushed red pepper and italian seasoning to flavor ours.
The instruction sheet says it’s only good for 1 week in the fridge, but we never have an issue beating the deadline. We’re making the nomadic herdsmen proud. But really, it’s just that good.
Have you ever made your own cheese? How did it turn out?