Making Cheese is as easy as…pie…?
A few months ago I read the wonderful book Animal Vegetable Miracle written by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s an entertaining and inspiring recounting of the year she and her family spent growing their own food. The book includes meal plans and recipes at the end of each chapter that are based on what is available by season. Some of these, like the asparagus and morel bread pudding, sound mouth-wateringly good.
About three quarters of the way through the book there is a chapter where Barbara describes making her own cheese. And not only does she make her own mozzarella but she does it in just thirty minutes! Boris and I were really excited about this (Cheese in half an hour!! WE CAN MAKE OUR OWN CHEESE!!!!!) and I started to track down the ingredients. This ended up being the most complicated part because though the cheese is made with only three ingredients – milk, citric acid and rennet – I had no idea where to look for two of those three. In the end it was Anne who found everything for us and we owe her a cheese of her own in thanks.
For future cheese makers based in Vancouver here’s where to get ’em: citric acid can be found at most pharmacies and rennet is sold at Bosa Foods. After that it was easy-peasy and we ended up with delicious cheese, fresh and hot. The mozzarella was tasty and went beautifully with the heirloom tomatoes we’ve been picking up at the Farmers Market throughout the summer.
The 30-minute mozzarella recipe is available as a PDF download from the Animal Vegetable Miracle companion site. Boris and I have made the mozzarella twice now, the first time with friends and the second as a tag team effort. Two key things we discovered: resist the impulse to keep stirring the milk because it’ll separate into curds and whey faster when still, and add a bit more citric acid when the milk reaches the highest temperature mentioned in the recipe.
We’re still both AMAZED that cheese making can be this easy and this fast. And thanks to the recipes included within the box of rennet tablets there are more cheese experiments we’re hoping to try in the near future.