24x24 Say Cheeeese

Growing up it wasn't really a family gathering unless there was a big cheese plate to start things out. I loved how my mom would pick up all different kinds, flavors, textures, and lay them out so we could all hang around the table, chatting, and chowing cheese.
I fully admit the thought to make my own cheese never crossed my mind, until my good friend Amanda told me about her cheese making adventures, and I knew we had to go try together. Where does one go to learn how to make cheese you might ask? A dairy farm of course! Saturday morning four of us set our sites on Chicory Farms. I was planning on wearing a floor length ball gown, but Amanda advised me that might not be the best idea for a farm tour.

There were baby sheep.
And goats!
goats babygoat
We started off by making cows milk ricotta. It's probably the easiest cheese out there to make, seriously you can't really go wrong. You will need 1 gallon whole milk, 1/4 cup vinegar, a large pot, spoon, thermometer, and some cheese cloth.  Seriously that's it.
Heat milk stirring occasionally until temperature reaches 185. Do not let milk boil
Turn off heat and stir in 1/4 cup vinegar (should look like picture above).
Pour into a cheese cloth lined colander.
That's me, so obviously I didn't take the photo, Amanda did
Hang for a few minutes to get more of the whey out.

That's it, your done! Pop it in the refrigerator and it will keep up to a week.

Now for mozzarella! For this you need raw goats milk. You'll need an in at a local farm. You can make this using low pasteurized cows milk, but the directions would be different then below. Don't use high pasteurized goats or cows milk, it wont work because the proteins are too damaged to form a strong curd.

You will need
1 gallon raw goats milk
1 1/2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
1/4 tsp liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool (unchlorinated) water
1 tsp cheese salt
(large pot, cheese cloth, spoon, thermometer)

Gently heat 1 gallon milk to 55 degrees. Add citric acid solution while stirring.
Heat milk to 85 degrees stirring constantly. Once reached remove from heat and slowly add the rennet solution, stirring with an up and down motion for 30 seconds. Cover pot and allow milk to stand for 10 minutes (or until when you tap it with a spoon it's a custard like consistency).
Now with a thin skewer or a specialty curd cutting knife cut the curd into 1/2 inch squares. Gently stir to keep curb from becoming a mat, Return to heat and bring to 95 degrees. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 2-5 minutes.
Pour into cheese cloth lined colander. (Save the whey if you plan on doing the next part on the stove). Half of us did this and the other half used the microwave, it was SO much easier that way.
Press any additional whey out of curb and place in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute.
Drain off excess whey and knead curd to distribute heat evenly. Return curb to microwave for 35 seconds.
Repeat heating and kneading until the curd is too hot to touch (145) and can be stretched like taffy without breaking. (add this point add in your salt if you want- or you can leave it out). Repeat 35 seconds in microwave and continue to pull until shiny and taffy like consistency.
Still not ready, almost!

Form into balls and place in a plastic bag and into an ice bath for 30 minutes.
Time to eat!

A super big thank you to Foodbuzz 24x24 for sponsoring this post!! 

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6 chews:

Wow Steph, I never thought about this neither. The cows milk cheese looks so incredibly easy. I already buy whole milk for the kids so all I need is the cheesecloth. I'm excited to try this. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. When you say heat to 185, is that C or F? Also, the vinegar, I'm assuming this is white vinegar?

Great question I should have written that it is F! I hope it turns out fabulously for you!

Nisha said...

I make the first kind of ricotta cheese quite regularly at home.  It's called 'paneer' in India and used often in Indian cooking and for numerous dishes.  Haven't made the second kind (cottage cheese/mozzarella) using rennet. :)

Hannah said...

Oh, what sweet fuzzy faces! Being a Capricorn myself, I do love goats. :) Stunning photos!

Julia said...

I looooove homemade ricotta, and mozzarella is next on my list!!  Can't wait to try it!

Madonna said...

Great post.  Both of these cheeses are on my bucket list so I will have to bookmark.  

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