Saturday, June 13, 2009

Smile and say CHEESE!!!

I bought a box of Junket rennet tablets a few weeks ago.   I remembered making junket when I was little.  I was also tantalized by the 'make cheese' blurb on the box.  I've always wanted to try that!
I went to Junket's website and looked at the recipes carefully.  They have quite a list of recipes.  They also had an involved page that explained how to check the box codes to make sure that the box on your shelf was suitable to use.  Mine wasn't.  It was made in 2002!  So I pitched it.  I bought a new box today.  
I decided I wanted to make mozzerella.  I didn't know this, but after making mozzerella, you let the whey sit overnight, and then make ricotta (which literally means recooked in Italian) with it the next day.  OK!

First I heated up the milk, then add citric acid (the quick method relies on citric acid, not bacteria) to set up.  I added half a rennet tablet, and let it sit for two hours.  

After that the instructions said "Test for a clean break.  Probe a finger into the rennet.  If it has gelled enough to break cleanly as the finger is lifted, go to the next step.  If the milk is liquid or semi-gelatinous,   and softly flows across your finger, let sit until a clean break is achieved."  I think that means dents when you poke it.  More on that later.  After
 that, you dice the curds up, and heat them to 108 for 35  minutes.   So I did.

Then everything into a strainer, separating the curds from whey, little Miss Muffett.  My cheese resembles soft cottage cheese.    Kinda tasted like it too.  I set a strainer over a pot, and lined it with a towel.  Here goes nothing!  I dripped and drained.

The whey looks almost exactly like Mountain Dew-an almost neon yellow green.  I've covered it and left it for morning, to see if I can work some magic and turn it to ricotta.

Some salt,a whirl thru the microwave, and some kneading, and I have something that tastes like mozzerella.  But I don't have the texture right.  I nuke it again to soften it, then form little balls.  But it's not quite right.  

I need to research this further.  The cheese behaves as it is supposed to, and tastes pretty decent too, but I don't quite have the formation right.  Picture, if you can, a mozzerella ball that feels like little bits of mozzerella all stuck together; cottage cheese sized bits all melded together.  I don't quite have the long strings I am looking for, or a smooth cheese.  Is it because I didn't understand the "poke it and make a dent" portion of the instructions?  Did I knead it correctly?  Does anyone know?

Cheese making is time consuming.  There are a lot of dirty pans.  Dang, I am really close to getting it right!

*** after writing this, I found cheese recipes that had the curds rest for as short as 5 minutes.  I think this is going to take a little bit of experimentation to get the recipe right!!!

1 comment:

smariek said...

Hmm... I think I'll save myself the trouble and just go buy my cheese.