Neko and I took a cheese making class this week. It was quite neat! It had never been on my “to do” list to learn to make my own cheese, but when this opportunity came up for Neko to take a class, it seemed like it would be right up our alley. She has loved the different cooking classes we’ve taken in the past, and of course we love cheese.
The class was taught by Ella from Make Cheese here in Calgary. For $40 we got the two-hour class and the cheese-making kit with enough supplies to make cheese 30 times (minus the milk of course)!
It was all quite easy, really. We started by having the kids dissolve some citric acid in water.
Meanwhile, we had heated our 4L (each) of milk on the stove. We then added the citric acid mix to the hot milk.
We then heated the milk again, dissolved some vegetarian rennet in water and added that to the milk mixture. We had to count to thirty… we left this to the kids, and they did it very slowly and carefully. As we found out later, it may have been better to just time 30 seconds, as leaving this step too long can throw off the process a bit.
We let our concoctions sit a while, and curds formed. These are quite gross looking. We strained out all the curds into separate bowls.
The process after this was: pack as much curd as you can into a slotted spoon. Lower the spoon into the heated whey for 30 seconds. Remove, and knead the curds about eight times. Reheat once more, and knead until shiny and smooth. And…..
Now, from four litres of milk, we only got this much cheese:
Ella said that storebought milk is really hit or miss. She said if you’re using milk from your own dairy, you’ll get to know the qualities of it and what to adjust in order to make it work. At any rate, there are plenty of things you can do with even this small amount of fresh mozzarella.
By the way, it doesn’t taste like much. BUT…
We sliced it up and put it on pizza when our wonderful Australian friend Andie rolled into town. And just because I feel like bragging, the crust is made from my homemade bread dough, the sauce from my canned tomatoes, and while this one shown is asparagus with caramelized onions, the other had turkey marinated in my handmade harissa, with homemade, oil-packed, roasted red peppers. Yum!!