Apparently June 4th was National Cheese Day. I find this post very appropriate for June now, and I’m glad I waited on posting. If you have never tried Groupon, I suggest looking at their deals. I’m finding I’m able to sign up for more classes and activities than I did the previous years without bankrupting myself. This was one of the deals, and I took my mom with me. It was an hour-long course with a starter at-home kit to make the cheese.
My instructor (and owner of Beer&Wine Hobby), Gennaro Caralado, started his hobby of brewing and cheese making at the age of 21. He only recently purchased this company that once taught Jim Cook (creator of the beer Sam Adams). Caralado was very passionate about his work, and was willing to answer the entire class’s questions. He made us drool at the idea of a homemade pizza with slices of fresh mozzarella melted on top. After tasting the mozzarella he made in class, there is nothing that compares to mozzarella made so recently. Eating store-bought will never be the same. I’d still be willing to eat it, but I will forever crave the 30 minute kind I can make before dinner or a party. Summer will be good.
You Will Need:
- digital thermometer instant read
- latex gloves
- stainless double strainer
- curd knife (you can use one of the cake decorator knives)
- Star San Acid Sanitizer for Surface Sanitation (you can buy some at their store or online. You need to sanitize all your tools)
- A very large cooking pot
- 1 1/2 level teaspoons of citric acid dissolved in a 1/2 cup cool water
- 1 gallon of pasteurized whole milk (skim milk makes the cheese drier. I will experiment later with different types of milk) Raw milk has more nutrients and is ok to use too, but dangerous to drink. You also CAN NOT use ultra pasteurized milk.
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet ( or 1/4 rennet tablet. They also sell these on their website and in store. I got it with my cheese package)
- 1 teaspoon of cheese salt (optional)
1. Sterilize working area and tools being used with the Star Sane Acid Sanitizer. Follow directions on the bottle. Wear Gloves for this and throughout cooking process.
2. Dilute rennet in 1/4 cup cool unchlorinated water.
3. Put milk in the sterilized pot and heat to 55 degrees F and while stirring add the citric acid. Mix well.
4. Heat milk to 90 degrees F and keep stirring. Temperature is very important. Remove from heat once you reach that temp and use an up and down motion of stirring for 30 seconds. Cover your pot and leave alone for 5 minutes.
5. Check your curds. It should look like a custard, and you should be able to see the seperation of the whey and curds. Cut curds with that curd knife that reaches the bottom of the pot. You want 45% angle cuts and 1/2 inch cubes. Be careful not to bread up too much or it will be harder to remove all the curds:
6. Put your pot back on the stove and heat it to 105 degrees F. Take your mixing spoon and carefully stir without breaking up the curds too much. Once you reach that temp., take off the heat and stir slowly for 2 to 5 minutes. (the longer the time, the firmer the cheese).
7. Take a slotted spoon and scoop out the curds.
Put the curds into a microwavable bowl, and press the curds in the bowl. You are trying to get out as much whey as possible out of the bowl. Save the whey for other things, but keep pressing until no more whey drips out.
8. Microwave curds on high for 1 minute. Drain any whey into the pot after you microwave. Gently fold your cheese repeatedly as if you are kneading bread with either 2 spoons or your hands. Check the temp of the inside of the curd. Should get to 145 degrees F. We are trying to make the cheese stretch.
Microwave again two more times for 35 seconds each time. Add your salt now if you want to after both times. Between heating, knead your cheese so that the heat will evenly spread throughout the curd. You want it to be smooth and elastic. It should stretch, as he put it, “like taffy” when it is done. If the curds are breaking apart instead of stretching, then you need to reheat it again before continuing to knead. You want a smooth and shiny look that you normally get with mozzarella. This will yield about 3/4-1 pound of cheese.
If you want a more in depth instruction, I highly suggest visiting or signing up for a class. They are also more then happy to answer your questions for you when you call.
I love this place. I’m so excited, because I’m signed up for their wine making class. They sell everything you need online and in their store to keep these hobbies going and further your education in the world of brewing and making cheese. For other cheese cultures, I suggest looking on their webpage as well. Their classes are decently priced. I think I might just learn to make homemade beer while I’m at it!