Bright Idea of the Day: Let’s Make Mozzarella Cheese!

Decades ago, I tried making cheese at home with Mr. Hot Stuff.

It didn’t work. A few years later, we tried again. It didn’t work again.

Recently I read the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. In it, she writes about her enjoyment of the cheese-making process with a halcyon glow, emphasizing just how easy it is to make mozzarella cheese at home in just 30 minutes. I became convinced that if I put in a little more attention and care, I too could make wonderful, fresh mozzarella at home.

Today I tried it.

I bought rennet, and citric acid, and sat down and watched 4 different videos on the internet, each of which convinced me that this was a straightforward, easy process and I could do this. Then I looked up a very clearly written recipe  at the website of The Cheese Queen.

Keeping my new Google Nexus 7 that Mr. Hot Stuff surprised me with close at hand so I could read the recipe, I bounced back and forth, checking the instructions and keeping an eye on the warming milk. I carefully watched the temperature, added citric acid and rennet at the right temperature, tried not to stir too much, let things “rest” and did my best to follow the very letter of the directions.

Yeah— No.

It didn’t work. Again.

I thought I’d at least be able to do a small rescue. I’d heard you could use the whey from making cheese to make homemade ricotta, so I pulled up another recipe. Guess how that worked out?

It didn’t work. Again.

Arctic Boy suggested that, “Maybe making cheese is kinda like you learning to make yogurt, or bread.”

Me: “What? That it’s going to take me 5 years before I finally get it figured out?”

Arctic Boy: “Maybe something like that.”

He might be right. Perhaps I’m cheese challenged. Maybe next week I’ll try again – with different milk. I’ve read that if your milk was ultra-pasteurized or overheated and super-cooled then it won’t make cheese. Maybe I need different milk than what I got at Costco.

Welcome to my learning curve. Maybe next time will be the magic cheese moment. Here’s my new motto:

“If at first you don’t make cheese, try, try again.”

winner-winner, veggie dinner 🙂

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