Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oh the possibilities

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before but one thing I really like about cooking involves transformation. You know: sugar+water into caramel, crunchy rice+stock into creamy risotto, flour+yeast+water into bread. Here's a new one for me - citric acid+milk+rennet into mozzarella cheese.

I bought a kit from New England Cheese Making Supply (their site seems to be down at the moment) and a gallon of milk. Ultra pasturized milk (heated to very high temps to lengthen storage time) won't work. Unfortunately, most organic milks are ultra-pasteurized, so I ended up buying the non-organic stuff.

First you mix milk and citric acid (lowers the pH, which denatures some milk proteins and helps from curds and whey) and heat to 88 degrees F.

Then you add rennet and wait for the curds and whey to separate. Rennet is basically a mixture of enzymes that digest milk proteins so that you end up with soluble proteins in the whey and insoluble proteins in the curd. Once the curds are firm, you can cut them with a knife:

In the case of mozzarella, you pour off as much of the whey as possible, heat the cheese in the microwave and knead until it is shiny, smooth and stretchy:

This was just a test run - I didn't add any salt during the kneading process, so this had a nice creamy taste but it was very subtle. Bruscetta with homemade cheese is in our future, and also possibly a ricotta cheesecake?

Dragon boat practice tonight - I'll take pics if I can.



Blogger Muffin said...

Do you watch Good Eats? I worship your blog. I am compltely guilty that I have been so out of touch, but I will blame it on the fact that I really feel like I talk to you every day via your amazing site. Anyway, Alton Brown recently had a cheese episode and I am so buying one of those kits for Matt. Talk soon??

8:22 PM  
Blogger B&B said...

Does Muffin = Erin?

8:55 PM  
Blogger B&B said...

I think you're right about the blog thing - it becomes a stand in for me actually calling friends, I just assume they are up to date on what I'm doing!
I really like Alton Brown's show, but I've only seen it at my parents (no cable here!).

8:57 PM  

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