Monday, 28 April 2014

The Big Cheese Making Kit - Our Homemade Mozzarella

homemade mozzarella
Absolutely Delicious
I have a thing when buying presents for those close to me, I usually buy them something I'd like. If I think it's cool then I hope that my taste means that they will.

This was one of The Glutenite's Christmas pressies because at the time we couldn't get Pizza Mozzarella anywhere - you know, the hard stuff in a block that doesn't have any whey - and he loves the stuff. Plus I thought that making our own cheese seemed like a pretty fun and rewarding thing to do.

I don't think he was that sold on the idea to be honest, the kit had just sat under the kitchen counter since being unwrapped and we'd managed to get hold of Pizza Mozzarella so there wasn't the need. But I so wanted to play at cheese making.

In the last few weeks we said we'd give it a go, so out came the kit:

the big cheese making kit
It's Called Big For A Reason
Looking at the easy to follow directions The Glutenite noticed that you needed 8 pints of milk in order to make 2 pounds of cheese. 8 pints and 2 pounds sounded like a hell of a lot of stuff.

We planned to make it at the weekend, if there was an abundance of Mozzarella we could freeze some of it.

(You can make it in a smaller batch by cutting the measurements in half but you have to throw away half of the rennet solution which just seemed like a waste.)

Yesterday we made cheese.... Well, The Glutenite did, I was merely the Fromage assistant.

It's incredibly simple, once you have the kit (which I think is packaged so cute) all you need is 8 pints of full fat milk, a very large pan that is neither aluminium or cast iron (ours is stainless steel), a large slotted spoon of the same requirements (we used plastic) and a microwavable bowl (plastic again here). Everything else you need is in the kit. Oh, you'll also need clean rubber gloves.

You start off by cutting one of the rennet tablets into half then one of the halves into quarters. A quarter of the tablet needs to be stirred and dissolved into 50ml of previously boiled room temperature water.

In a different container another 50ml of previously boiled room temperature water needs to have 1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid added and stirred in until dissolved.

rennet and citric acid solutions
Minimum Prep
You then add the milk to your pan, we measured pint by pint:

pint of milk
Then add the citric acid solution and stir in an up and down motion. Gently heat the milk to 90F (there's a thermometer in the kit, it needs to be held in the middle of the pan). The Glutenite originally had the hob ring set to 3 but I encouraged him to set it to 4 as it was taking a ridiculous amount of time to get anywhere near 90F. Still gentle but quicker.

milk for cheese making
About Half Of The Milk
Once the milk reaches 90F remove from the hob and gently stir in the rennet solution with an up and down motion for 30 seconds. Put the lid on the pan and leave to sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.

No peeking.

When it's finally time to lift the lid you should see the curds formed at the top of the pan. Next step is to take a long sharp knife and slice through the curds so you have around 1 inch cubes.

cheese curds
Look Closely Or Click The Image
The pan then goes back onto a medium heat and is brought to 105F, you gently move the curds around with a slotted spoon as it heats.

Once 105F is reached use your slotted spoon to remove the curds and place into your bowl. Pour excess whey back into the pan.

curds and whey
Curds And Some Whey
Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute then drain as much whey as you can back into the pan. Knead the hot Mozzarella in the bowl, folding as you do, for about 30 seconds. Remove more whey if you can.

making cheese at home
That's Why You Should Do It In The Bowl Kids
Put back into the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove then add 1 teaspoon of the Sea Salt provided and knead for another 30 seconds.

Once more into the microwave, same drill, high, 30 seconds, then knead once more.

homemade mozzarella
Just About Done
Now you can eat it straight away (we just had to have a sample at this stage) or you can shape it into one big ball, block or several. The Glutenite shaped the Moz into two balls.

In order to retain the shape it's best - if you aren't going to scoff the lot right away - if you put the cheese into ice cold water for 30 minutes.

cooling mozzarella
Tick Tock
Isn't it amazing?!

homemade mozzarella
Homemade Mozzarella By The Glutenite
One slice consumed turned into two, then three, four...

the big cheese making kit homemade mozzarella
Utterly Delicious
I've never tasted Mozzarella as good as this stuff, it's got way more flavour than any that I've ever had.

It seems silly now that we were a bit daunted by the fact that we were going to make 2 pounds of cheese. There's still some left - after me nibbling loads and using it in dinner last night - but I don't think it'll last for much longer. I think cheese making may become a bit of a weekend ritual.

The kit also makes Ricotta but I can see us just sticking to Mozzarella. There's still 7 servings to be made which equates to 14 pounds of cheese, isn't that cool? 14 pounds of Mozzarella.

If you like this kind of cheese then I highly recommend The Big Cheese Making Kit , it's really fun to do, super easy and the end result is nothing short of delectable. For someone who didn't seem that interested in the kit, The Glutenite soon changed his mind once he tasted his handiwork, it turned out to be a great gift after all.

I thought he was fantastic before but now he makes cheese I think I'll keep him ;)

(If you happen to be in the States and want to make cheese there's this)

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