Friday, April 26, 2013

Homemade Friday: Mozzarella straight from the cow. Almost.

My sister, Courtney has a cow.
No, I mean a real cow.  Like a milk cow.  That she milks every morning.

This may be humorous to those of you who knew her, who remember her saying that she was going to only have one child and live in the city and be an actress. 

Those days were a long time ago.  She has three kids, a couple of step kids, and she lives in the country.  With a cow.  And chickens.  And dogs.  And a horse.  And I suspect that she only said she wanted one child because her younger sister had a tendency to read her journal.  Also - can't we all say that some point we wanted to be an actor?

So, this is who my sister is now.  And I love it.  She gets up in the morning and milks a cow.  And I get to benefit from it.


That's three gallons of milk.  Fresh milk.  The hipster in me is completely delighted at all the stuff I can make with Whole! Fresh! Milk!

First off was mozzarella. 

We have pizza every Friday - homemade pizza with homemade dough and sauce.  And while I can't make the pepperoni myself -yet - I thought it would be super neat to make my own cheese.  Plus we're trying to save money and I spend $8 for a big bag of Wal-mart brand cheese that doesn't last as long as you'd think.  Or maybe I just use too much cheese.  What can I say.  I like cheese.  It runs in the family.  Just ask my mom.

So my sister gave me a ton of milk and cheese making supplies because she's awesome.

Her instructions came from The Cheese Queen.  And they were simple.  Sort of.

The first few steps are completely easy.  You put diluted citric acid in a pot with a gallon of milk and heat it up to 90 degrees, then add the rennet and let it sit for five minutes.  Then cut the curd and heat it up again to 105, take it off the heat and stir it for a few minutes.

And here's where I started having problems.

I drained off the whey and microwaved the curds, but once I tried to knead the curds, they were so hot that I couldn't touch them.  And then I repeated the process.  And then again.  I have no pictures of this because I was too busy trying to administer first aid to my scorched fingertips.

At one point I had the cheese exactly like it was supposed to be - silky and smooth and even touchable without raging burns.  But then I realized that I'd forgotten to put the salt in.  So I sprinkled it on and kneaded it in, and my cheese turned hard and rubbery and the salt wasn't worked in enough so some spots were super salty while others were bland.

I was so sad.

I tried again another day with better results - and rubber gloves.  But even though I put the salt in right where I was supposed to and didn't overwork the cheese nearly as much before it still was too hard and too bland.

However in spite of the disappointing cheese, once it was melted on the pizza it still tasted good.  And I'm not discouraged.  If anything I'm even more excited and determined to do it the right way.

See? It runs in the family.

I used the rest of the milk for ice cream - dark chocolate, vanilla and strawberry - so I need to visit my sister and steal some more.

I think I'm almost giddy with this whole process.  I mean, think of what else you can make with fresh milk!  Cream cheese!  Butter! Sour Cream! Buttermilk! EVEN MORE CHEESE AND ICE CREAM!


  1. I want to have a cow! Or maybe just a sister with one.

    Here's mine taken from my point of view - sipping coffee on a chair, watching my boys play in the early morning.

  2. I just followed your link over from Soulemama because CHEESE! And now that I've spent a good five minutes on your blog I have arrived at the conclusion that you and I should be best friends.

    Hmm. That was awkward.

    (Totally not a stalker. Just someone who can appreciate cheese and Harry Potter perhaps more than the average soccer mom.)

    Too bad Kentucky and Oregon are so far apart. I'd invite you over for homemade pizza tonight since that's our family tradition, too.

    1. I am perfectly fine with mild stalker-like behavior! And also - I see you made some hard cider! We're also a brewing family - my husband makes the best beer! He also makes a fantastic hard cider - but you have to be careful because it's crazy strong.

      You know, I've always wanted to go to Oregon ...


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