In our house over the last few months, there has been much discussion about the future. Of potential house moves and possible projects that we would really like to undertake and one of those things was to become more self-sufficient and have a go at not only growing more of our own food but actually producing some of it too. One day, a few weeks ago, I happened to mention that I would love to have a go at making cheese and lo-and-behold, a couple of days later, three little kits plopped onto my doormat, a mozzarella making kit, a goat's cheese making kit and a bacon making kit (we will get to the making bacon one in another post). Needless to say, I was thrilled and couldn't wait for the weekend so we could give them a try. I had big plans for the cheese and in my head, I was already picturing us out shopping for cute little goats to start our own goat herd to begin our little cheese-making business. Unfortunately, for the time being, we are still goat-less so, with two large cartons of goat's milk duly purchased from the supermarket, we set about preparing the culinary delight.
We followed the instructions to the letter. We heated and we stirred and we heated some more with our cute little thermometer, then we lined the colander with the fine muslin from the kit and we waited for the curds to form. And we waited ......... and we waited ......... and we waited some more. And ........ nothing! Not a curd in sight. We repeated the process as instructed in the "if no curds form" section of the instructions and we waited again. Still nothing. So, ever the optimist, my husband suggested leaving it a while. Soooooooo we made supper, had some wine and waited even longer. And nothing. Not a thing.
Making sure the milk is at the right temperature.
Looking hopeful ......
Not one single curd got caught in the muslin.
Anyway, we chalked that batch up to experience, checked the milk to make sure we hadn't bought UHT treated milk and that it was actually suitable for making cheese and the following week we tried again. The same thing happened. Not one single curd. I was mightily disappointed but decided that, for now, we would put the goat's cheese making on hold until we could figure out where we went wrong and try the other kit and have a go at making a batch of mozzarella. With a certain amount of trepidation, we once again, heated, stirred and waited and this time,
Curds beginning to form :-)
Cutting the curds
Draining the curds.
At this point, to say we were ecstatic was a total understatement. We salted the cheese and turned to the trusty internet to find out how to heat and stretch the cheese in the microwave to get it to the stringy, stretchy, pizza-licious-ness everyone knows and loves and then we tasted it. It was delicious. Although I think we over-heated it slightly and it was a bit chewy, all-in-all, it was a total success.
Ready for eating.
I have to say, the un-stretched cheese was equally delicious and next time I make it, I probably won't bother with the heating and the stretching part and will just use the cheese in the curds stage just after it's been salted and mixed. It's perfect on pizza and in salads and next time I am going to add some chopped herbs as well and see how that tastes. Oh, and if anyone has any idea as to why the goat's cheese was such a disaster, a comment would be much appreciated. I'm not going to get very far with my cheese-making business if I don't actually know how to make cheese :-)