We are so excited about cheese making around here - we have two cheese making workshops coming up at Little City Farm in the next month, both filled to capacity and with waiting lists of additional people who are interested in learning. Although we are not leading the cheesemaking workshops ourselves (we are bringing in a local cheesemaking "expert"!), we have been experimenting with various cheeses just for our own family and are getting better at it with each try. Farmhouse cheddar, cream cheese, ricotta, feta, chevre and mozzarella, are wonderful diverse cheeses that are all very easy to make. Cheese is best made with organic raw milk (if you can get it), organic milk (not ultra-high pasteurized) from the store, as well as organic goats milk. We add herbs and have been coming up with some delicious flavours. One of the best sources for cheese making supplies is the New England Cheese Supply Company but we have recently also found some of their cheese making "kits" at a local shop here in town (Vincenzos). You can also skip the "kits" and simply buy bulk quantities of citric acid, cheese salt, and rennet tablets (depending on what kind of cheese you want to make). A little of each of these supplies goes a long way. Here is a simply recipe for mozzarella - this is a super project to do with kids! We had a hard time not devouring the fresh cheese right away.
1 gallon organic milk (non ultra-high pasteurized)
1/4 rennet tablet (vegetarian rennet) dissolved in 1/4 cup cool filtered water
1 1/2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1 cup cool filtered water
1-2 tsp cheese salt
1) Pour the dissolved citric acid in 1 cup cool water into a large stainless steel pot. Add milk and heat milk on low, stirring until milk is at 90F. Only use a wooden spoon or stainless steel spoon (not aluminum). Take off burner.
2) Slowly stir in rennet solution and stir 30 seconds. Then cover with lid and let stand 5-10 minutes.
3) During this time the milk will have formed a curd - cut curd with a long sharp knife into small cubes.
4) Reheat curd/milk on stove to about 105F while slowly stirring. Then remove from heat and keep stirring 5 minutes more.
5) Pour off the liquid whey and reserve this for baking, adding to smoothies, soups, etc. Or use the whey for making Ricotta with this recipe here. Ladle the curds into a colander and gently drain.
6) Heat pot of fresh water to 185F. Dip your curds (in the colander) into the hot water. They will start to become stretchy and look more like soft mozzarella, then start to fold with a spoon.
7) When completely stretchy you can remove curd from hot water and pull into long strands. Shape into logs, balls, cheese strings, braids, etc. Add 1-2 tsp cheese salt and/or herbs at this time and blend in while you stretch and shape the cheese.
8) Dip into ice water to cool for about 5 minutes - this will harden the cheese and it will hold it's shape.
9) You are done! Enjoy!