Sunday, June 17, 2012

A foray into food

I'll just say this upfront: this isn't turning into a "design and cooking" blog. Primarily because I don't enjoy cooking that much, though I'm a decent sous chef and a truly fantastic eater. However, Sam and I made homemade cheese this afternoon, and I just had to post about it since it does seem to fall in the DIY realm of "stuff most people buy but we tried our hand at making." We used a cheesemaking kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company that Sam was given for Christmas, which made things quite easy. In about 30 minutes, we made 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, which we then used in lasagna this evening for dinner. Mmmm.

The only ingredients were: 1 gallon milk (cannot be ultra-pasteurized), cool water, citric acid (in the kit), vegetable rennet tablet (also in the kit), and salt. The kit also came with a dairy thermometer, which we needed to heat the milk to precise temperatures at various stages in the process.

First we heated the milk and citric acid, then added the rennet. After letting it sit to cool for ~10 minutes, it had turned into curds and whey! Little Miss Muffet would be so proud.

Here's the master chef in action:

After some more stirring and heating, things seemed to be headed in the right direction:

Then we drained out the whey, and kept heating the curds until they were a single mass and a stretchy consistency like taffy:

Then we simply cooled the final ball in some ice water:

Woah, we made cheese!

There are lots of different ways to finish the cheese -- for instance, we could have formed it into multiple balls or even flattened it and layered on some herbs and prosciutto before rolling it into a log. However, we knew we planned on grating it up for lasagna not long after, so we just made a simple ball. This kit came with enough supplies to make cheese 30 times, so we'll for sure be doing it again. And I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in making cheese (or even people who just love to eat cheese -- it's that easy).

Now it's time to enjoy some lasagna! It's one of the few meals I actually make, it's so delightfully simple. I like to add some sauteed spinach and mushrooms, since I'm trying to get Sam to like mushrooms (while he tries to convince me that onions are not awful). He gets to push his onion agenda more often since he cooks most of the time, so I feel like whenever I do cook I have to incorporate mushrooms. Fortunately lasagna lends itself well.



  1. Steve forwarded me this entry just to make sure I saw it, because I've been wanting to make cheese for a while now - thanks for the link and the photos! I'm definitely going to give this a try.

    1. Oh yay! It was sooo easy, I highly recommend it!