SfS: Week 2 – Mozzarella Cheese

mozz_collageMaking Mozzarella.  Easy peasy cheesy.

Despite my very best intentions, real life has a way of overriding those best laid plans.  My goal is to get a challenge done once a week, but every week isn’t perfect, so this one is a little late.

I’ve tackled mozzarella a few times now, and I absolutely love the finished product.  Cheesemaking has been something we’ve been dabbling in since we first got milk from our dairy goats, and I’ve got lofty goals of being dairy self-reliant.  It may not happen fully, because we don’t have long-term plans of raising dairy cows, but there’s a lot of good, fresh milk to be had around here.

I started this mozzarella with a gallon of delicious, gently-pasteurized milk from Stoneville Creamery.  They were a sponsor at the OEFFA conference I attended last weekend, and shared some really delicious products with the conference-goers.  I highly recommend that you start your own mozzarella cheese with a similar milk product.  Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or another similar grocery store will likely have a wider selection of milks to use.  Avoid anything ultra-pasteurized and homogenized, if possible.  It’s much harder to get decent curd separation.  If you have access to farm fresh milk, even better.

I followed the recipe at TheKitchn for this batch, and have done so a few times.  It makes for some really excellent cheese.  We ate it fresh the first night with some tomato jam and a little splash of a nice balsamic vinegar.  Second day, on sandwiches.  Third day?  It didn’t make it that long.  🙂

So, check out the recipe above, and see what you can do on your own!  Grab some milk, some citric acid and rennet, and a few little helpers (my kids make excellent supervisors.)  The store-bought stuff you’ve been buying doesn’t have anything on this!  Be sure you save the whey – it has some amazing benefits that we’ll be talking more about in the coming weeks.

The Challenge

Replace store-bought, preservative-loaded mozzarella with something fresh, or homemade.

Good Swap: Shredded cheese is loaded with extra ingredients.  Buy an organic shredded cheese with no preservatives.

Better Swap: Pick up an organic or locally-made cheese, and shred it yourself!  Or skip the shredding, and slice it.  Sliced mozzarella on a homemade pizza is a great way to change up a family favorite.

Best Swap: Make your own mozzarella.  It’s easy to do, and is a great science experiment with kids.  The end result is an amazing product with great flavor, and a strong sense of accomplishment.  If you’re already an experienced mozzarella maker, mix it up by adding some fresh herbs.

Week 1 Followup:

photo(46)

Bad picture, fantastic jam.

Our week one challenge was to create a jam, jelly, or marmalade from scratch.  We heard feedback from one of our facebook followers who tried an amazing Meyer Lemon Marmalade!  In our kitchen, we mixed up a batch of Sun-Dried Tomato Jam, and have tried it on eggs, with a batch of mozzarella, and in a really wonderful onion pie.  We didn’t have a high sampling, but our vote is definitely that home-made jams are far, far superior to anything we can buy at the store.

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