Wednesday, August 17, 2011

End Game

I've had it.  Done.  Finished.  No more.
I absolutely can not make Mozzarella. 
I've tried.  Half a dozen times.  And only once did it even somewhat resemble the little shiny white ball of cheese.  Kind of.  A little bit.  Well, not really.
Since it's been over a year since my last mozzarella failure, I figured I'd try again.  I've been making farmers cheese (or whatever you call it) for our extra milk, but it would be nice if I could make mozzarella as we like to have pizza once a week.  You can only put so much farmer’s cheese on a pizza.  Pizza needs that stringy goodness of a mozzarella to make it, well, a pizza.
I've followed two, maybe three different ways of making mozzarella, "The easiest of cheeses to make".  Today I did the "30-minute mozzarella". 
Everything was squeaky clean.  Everything was ready and waiting to start the cheese making process.  The milk was fresh (from yesterday).  I followed the directions to the T.
And all I ended up with is a gritty bowl of cheese mush and over a gallon of whey.  How do I get gritty mush instead of that stretchy, stringy ball of cheese so cherished by all?
I've tried liquid rennet.  Rennet in tablet form.  Citric acid from two different sources.   The epic failure usually starts right at the beginning.  My curd will.  Not.  Set.  It NEVER looks like that creamy white custard hunk-o-curd in the pictures.  The best I can get is smallish curds that seem to just arbitrarily stick together until I try to cut the curd.  Then they all scatter everywhere.
I try to continue with the directions, heating up to temperature, draining the curds, heating and draining the whey, heating again, kneading and I'd say stretching, but it never gets to that stretching stage.  Is there some sort of “insiders” cheese making step I’m omitting?  Does goat milk not set as well?  Is the moon not in the correct phase? Do I have to do some sort of naked Pagan dance or something?  For gawds sakes, somebody tell me!!!!
I really, really thought we'd be making hard cheeses by now.  But if I can't even get the "easiest" cheese done right, how in the heak am I going to attempt a cheddar?
Done with the whine.  I'm going to take my frustrations out on some squash bugs now.


  1. I have no answers for you Carolyn, but I'm commenting so I can see what other people say
    :-) If they say do the naked Pagen dance -- please don't post a video LOL!

  2. I feel your pain. I found that the biggest problem I had was that my thermometer was not giving me a true temperature reading. Now I use three -- honest. Also, I read somewhere that goat milk needs to age three days before you can make mozz. Go check Leigh's blog (5 acres and a dream - it's on my blog list) and google mozzarella. She had the same problem and solved it! Don't give up - smash those squash bugs!

  3. Never tried cheese before, but I think you can do it. You are not a giver-upper!!!

  4. I know NOTHING about making cheese, but I admire your many attempts! And I just have to ask...what would Paul say about a naked Pagan dance?? He might think that would be *just the thing* to help the cheese along.... ;)

  5. Dr.M, don't worry, Pagan dances will definately NOT be photographed or published.

    Susan, Leigh's blog is what got me thinking about making Mozz again!

    APG, I'm a giver-upper for at least as long as it takes me to forget how ticked I was when it didn't turn out!

    MT, uhm.....nope. :)

  6. What recipes are you using and what is the milk to citric acid ratio? I think I read somewhere than you can over acidify the milk, and it will cause that issue. I've had that issue twice, but good results otherwise.

  7. 1 1/2 tsp. citric acid (diluted in 1 c. water), 1 gal. milk, 90 degrees, add 1/4 tablet rennet (diluted in 1/2 c. water), let set, cut curd, 105 degrees, strain, squeeze, heat in micro, squeeze, heat in micro, repeat until stretchy

  8. Just saying hello from the Amish settlement of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

  9. Be sure to bring it to 105 in a water bath, and this recipe has worked best for me. I know it seems like it could be halved, but I've been told not to halve or double cheese recipes.

  10. Try ricotta. You'll feel better. Then you can give the mozz another spin.