Sunday, August 10, 2008

Say Cheese!

I've been making cheese for the past month or so. First cheese was Ricki Carroll's 30 Minute Mozzarella which is pretty simple to make but requires milk that has not been ultrapasteurized. Try to find that in your supermarket! Bordens makes a milk that the lable says has been pasteurized but it must have had high heat treatment somewhere in the process because it doesn't make good, smooth cheese. Whole Foods has several organic pasteurized milk brands, which would be ideal but so far they don't seem to make very good Mozzarella, either. The best success I've had was with reconstituted powdered milk plus a pint of half and half. Even the poorly textured Mozzarella is good on homemade pizza dough, though, so nothing has gone to waste.

The next cheese I tried was Farmhouse cheddar. It looks OK but I won't know how it tastes for a while. It needs to age at least a month, longer is better. Yesterday I made Jalapeno Cheddar using Ricki's stirred curd cheddar method. It's still in the press and then it needs to age until probably Christmas if I can wait that long to try it.

Last weekend six-year-old granddaughter Mary Grace spent the weekend with me as a treat for both of us. Between visits to the swimming pool she made (all by herself!) a big batch of cream cheese. I made homemade bagles to go with it. We sent bagles and cream cheese home with Mary Grace for her to share with her family. I've had reports that the twins (almost 20 months old) have gobbled all of it up during lessons on how to spread cheese on bagles all by themselves. Way to go babies! I've got enough of the cheese left to make a small cheesecake, which I may do this afternoon as it's way to hot to do anything outdoors today. Temp is nearly 100 and the humidity makes you drip with sweat in seconds.

Anyway, check out Ricki's website ( for more information on home cheese making, which is loads of fun and a great way to get cheese that you can be sure doesn't have unpronounceable chemicals faking the cheesy taste or texture. My homemade cheeses have just milk or cream, enzymes for curd coagulation, a little salt, and in the case of the jalapeno cheese, veggies in them. I wish I had a goat.

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