Cheesemaking with the Faves

Ricki's Cheesemaking Kit - For Mozzarella and Ricotta

A few weeks ago, we bought a fun cheesemaking kit from a vendor at our local Farmers Market - Mountain Feed and Farm Supply. This kit makes 30 1lb. batches of either motzarella or ricotta cheese. It comes with everything you need besides the milk. It was a lot of fun and very easy. Our cheese came out pretty good; it tasted great, but did look a little funny. Not bad for the first time though.

From milk to grilled cheese, the whole process took us about 45 minutes to an hour. One piece of advice we got that I thoug was useful to share - if you buy organic, to be aware that Clover brand tends to be more pasteurized than regular milk due to the nature of organic milk. The instructions say not to get 'Ultra pasteurized' milk. So for first time success, you might want to try regular (non-organic) milk. I ended up using half organic and half regular, because you need a gallon to make one 1lb of cheese and I only had a half gallon in my fridge.

Here are pictures of some of the steps - heat, stir, melt, and stretch!

Step #1 Get cute helpers. :-)

Step #2 Heat milk to 90 degrees. (The kit comes with a thermometer.) Once it reaches 90 degrees F, remove from heat and stir in rennet solution with an up and down motion for 30 sec. Cover pot and leave for 5 minutes.

Step #3 After 5 minutes, check the curd. It should look like custard with a clear saparation between the curd and whey. Ours looked close enough, but I believe it should have been a bit more solid. It might have been an issue with the organic milk I used. The suggestion in the instructions was to let it set for a few more minutes. We did this, and this was the closest we got to the pictures in the instructions.

Step #4 Once the curd sets you cut it with a knife, that reaches the bottom of the pot, and place back on the stove and reheat to 105 degrees F. While reheating, slowly move the cures around.

Step #5 Once you reach 105 degrees F, take off the burner and continue to slowly stir for 2-5 minutes helping to make the cheese firm. The longer you stir, the more firm your cheese will be.

Step #6 Water Bath Method. There are two options to the third heating round. Microwave or Water bath. We don't have a microwave so opted for the Waterbath. In another pot we heated water to 185 degrees F. We ladeled the cured into a colander, folding gently as we drained off the whey. Once all of the whey was drained, we dipped the colander into the hot water several times. Then we took a spoon and folded the curds, helping them to become more cheese-like and elastic. You'll notice it become stretchable.
Step #7 When it became stretchable, we removed from the liquid and pulled a bit. This step didn't work out for us like the picture, but good enough to do some stretch like action with the cheese mass. We formed a ball and returned it to the water to help it cool.

Ta-da! Cheese!

And what do you do with the cheese! Tomato soup and grilled cheesers, of course!

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