Yes I am now officially a curd nerd to borrow the term from Gavin Webber. Actually, I’m going to
lay the blame lay my sincerest thanks at his feet. Reading about how he makes his own cheese at home has had me itching to follow suit and finally I made my own cheese. And not ricotta (I’m afraid I don’t really count ricotta as cheese making although I know it is) but mozzarella. For pizza tonight! 🙂
Ok, so lets back up a little. A few weeks ago I attended a cheese making course, learning how to make chevre, feta and ricotta which started the (mozzarella?) ball rolling and I’ve been looking online for a cheese kit to buy. I’m a little nervous about starting with a hard cheese but I know Martin is keen for parmesan (12-24 months maturation so the sooner the better I guess) but I’ve decided to start small and see if the cheesy bug stuck. I hit pause to have a think.
Last Saturday, Lynda D and I received a rather special invitation to visit Kim and Gav at their place. Armed with a milk kefir soured sultana cake and some fresh sourdough, not to mention a little girl ready for a tea party and day out with Mummy, I headed off to Gav’s place. Arriving at the same time as Lynda and her new chooks (check out her post HERE on the arrival of her new hens) we were met by Kim and Gav and after a chicken inspection we headed in for a wonderful chat about all things sustainable, a slice or several of cake, some cinnamon muffins and of course, some of Gav’s cheese (Caerphilly) on crackers. What a delicious morning tea. 🙂 Allegra turned on the charm and was rewarded with several slices of cheese more than I thought her little tummy could actually fit! She was in cheesy heaven, not to mention wallowing in the “isn’t she [insert compliment]” comments. I can assure you, she had turned on every single ounce of her charm that day. Normally she has a little more, shall we say, variety to her character? 😉
Anyway, after a wonderful morning spent with like-minded people, a tour of the garden and a chat with Kim about homeschooling (here is Gav’s post on the morning) we headed off home. Allegra and I took the long way home via Bunnings (again, yes I know 😦 ) and then Bacchus Marsh to pick up a wide variety once again of different things. But my the best things I bought that day were my mozzarella cheese kit and thermometre that I bought from Gav. 😀
Yesterday was the day for cheese making.
Armed with a motley collection of pots that could be pulled into service and the 2L of unhomogenised milk (you can use homogenised but then you need to use Calcium Chloride which I’m not sold on the health and safety thereof) I had I quickly worked out half batch amounts, set everything up, assured myself of happily playing kids (oh would they stay that way long enough) and then set off on my first solo curd nerd journey. Things didn’t quite go according to the recipe with heat continuing to increase when I had expected it not to and the curds not setting smoothly but I figured that what I had might work so I continued on, hopeful. To my joy it all came together and I ended up with a ball of mozzarella, ready for tonight’s homemade pizza for dinner. 😀 I couldn’t be happier.
And yes, my pint size permies
decided not to hang off my legs wanting something, destroyed their rooms in peace, played like blessed little angels until just as I finished up. Wasn’t that kind of them. 😉
Anyway, after having made mozzarella, a really good place to start with cheese making in my opinion, I am keen to dig in deeper and have a go at feta (another good beginner level but takes longer due to the waiting around between steps cheese) and then I think it might be time to have a go at a hard cheese. 🙂 After the mozzarella I had a go at making a citric acid ricotta but to my disgust it just wasn’t working. I had no white vinegar to make that version (we only use wine vinegars or apple cider vinegar here) but rather than waste 2L of milk I decided I had nothing to lose and slugged some ACV into the Thermy full of slightly curdled milk. WHAMMO! Instant ricotta! 😀 A happy save I tell you. Lunch? Warm ricotta with raw honey. Verdict? Delicious! 😀
Well, I’m off to make pizzas and test out my new mozzarella! 😀
Ok, it’s after dinner and the pizzas were a total success. 😀 The mozzarella tastes wonderful and Martin complimented me with an association between shop purchased bocconcini (little mozzarella’s) and my ball of cheese. I call that a raging success! 😀