Thursday, July 3, 2008

OLS #5: Sixth Time’s the Charm!

After the cheesemaking class, I just had to try making mozzarella one more time. (Those who’ve followed my blog for a while already know that I’ve figured out many, many ways how not to make mozzarella.) Armed with the knowledge of what it is supposed to look like, a new set of instructions and to my total surprise, the milk turned into cheese! It wasn’t quite as smooth and "squeaky" as the instructor’s, but I’ll chalk that up to my lesser experience. The point was, it worked! It tasted pretty good, too! It’s different from store mozzarella, and I think that’s partially due to the absence of an additive called "lipase powder," which Rikki also sells.

It was so easy that I’m not totally sure what went wrong in my previous attempts. For the first time, the curd looked just like the picture, and maybe that made all the difference. The instructions I got from the teacher were based on Rikki’s, but I noticed three relevant changes: you use 2 tsp citric acid (instead of 1-1 ½), you let the curd sit for 10 minutes (instead of 3-5), and you turn the heat down to low while the curds are forming (instead of turning it off). I don’t know if those changes made the difference or if it was the rumored "cheese gods."
I made ricotta out of the remaining whey and used it in lasagna, which turned out fine, but not fantastic. The whey was supposed to be used in other baking this week, but, like every single time I’ve made cheese, I forgot all about it when I did my baking. Maybe my mystery vegetable starts will like it.

Anyway, for my One Local Summer meal this week, I used some of my freshly made mozzarella in homemade pizza. Everything was from scratch, although I still have yet to achieve a 100% local dinner. The crust included some of the last of my local whole wheat flour and the sauce was doctored up tomato sauce. Instead of grating, the cheese sort of crumbled, so I added some grated Tillamook cheddar to it (and a little grated Parmesan for flavor). I topped the pizza with fried bacon (our pig) and California olives (I don’t think they grow in Oregon). I also made an all-local green salad with backyard lettuce and farmers’ market veggies. The pizza was a hit with my family. Munchkin ate more than usual and my husband really liked it -- more than I did. After making my own cheese, I think I was expecting something a little more spectacular, but it was fine.


Green Bean said...

Holy moley. It looks great- though I appreciate your honesty. That the cheese wasn't the answer to everything plaguing the world. It wouldn't cure cancer or stop global warming. I'm glad it was fine, though.

Donna said...

GB: Thanks. It was definitely worth doing, but I think now I'll move on to other things.

kale for sale said...

Congratulations. The most important part was that your family liked the cheese. That's success. When I get brave to give cheese a try I'll refer back to your posts. And give sweets to the cheese god's before starting.