Monday, January 16, 2012

Cheese Math

I made mozzarella cheese a couple of years ago, but for some reason just hadn't made it since. Now that I have new rennet and culture, yesterday I decided to finally make another batch. But it didn't work. It started out as expected. Add the citric acid to the milk, heat it up, add the rennet. Let it sit while the curds develop. Cut the curds. Heat up the curds. Oops? Where are the curds? They're gone! Frizzled. Nothing but little tiny pieces instead of nice lumpy, squeaky curds. Where are my curds?????????

Fortunately, DH had just been reading the cheesemaking book while resting and recovering from his stomach bug. "The book says when you use too much rennet it won't work," he kindly informed me.

But impossible. I had measured everything exactly. No room for... oops. I had used two gallons of milk. The recipe was for two gallons. I thought I was supposed to be doubling the recipe for two gallons. Nope. Okay. No harm done. A little grumbling about time lost. But the cheese frizzles turned into a nice batch of ricotta cheese. Perfect for lasagna later in the week. Yum.

So, not to be deterred, I set out again this morning. The intrepid cheesemaker. Same thing happened. Frizzles. All frizzles. Granted, I only had 1-3/4 gallons of milk at this point, but I had very carefully calculated everything for a 1-3/4 recipe making sure I didn't use too much rennet. But obviously I had! Hmmmm... I then double-checked the website and discovered that the rennet I purchased is double-strength! OH! I only need 1/4 teaspoon for two gallons!! So I had used too much rennet... AGAIN! Oh, well. This ricotta was great on tonight's pizza along with some cheddar and feta to kick it up a notch. And we sure are looking forward to lasagna later this week.

As soon as I get new milk I'm going to give it another shot and hopefully it will be as smooth and easy as the first time I tried it, IY"H! (Do you know they do look at you rather oddly when you go through with 7 gallons of milk... 4 for cheese, 2 for drinking, and 1 for yogurt?) Here's to perseverance!

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