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Easy, Cheesy, Lemon Squeezy

cheese

Cheese… I love thee endlessly, hopelessly.  One bite and I am humming cheesy love ballads… feel the hairspray, man.  Darling cheese: I’m forever yours… faithfully, there’s no love like our love I can’t help it — there’s nothing I want more, heaven isn’t too far away, and I finally found the love of a lifetime. So, I got to thinking that maybe I should show you guys how I make mozzarella (while singing rock ballads, of course).

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Here’s the lineup:

  • 2 gallons whole or 2% milk (I’ve tried skim… hated it)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons citric acid powder dissolved in 1 cup cool water
  • 1 tablet Junket Rennet Tablet suspended in 1/2 cup cool water
  • 2 teaspoons salt

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Take a good look at that there Junket and take a minute to fully appreciate the joy I felt in finally finding the silly stuff in rural Georgia after searching for that little darling in the kind of panic that can only be compared to loosing a contact on a first date and then realizing that it’s floating in your water glass (only after feeling around a sticky floor shouting things like, “I’m sure it’s here somewhere… this, like, totally never happens to me.”).  Not that I ever had that happen to me.

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Prepare that citric acid and water.  Stir!  Prepare that rennet mixture, too.

Pour milk into a non-reactive pot (no aluminum or cast iron). Place over medium heat.   Heat milk to 88 degrees Fahrenheit.  Milk will start to curdle.  Can you take me high enough?

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At 88 degrees, add the citric acid solution.  Now stir.  Add the rennet solution.  Continue stirring slowly every few minutes until the milk reaches 105 degrees F.  Turn off the heat.  Large curds will appear and begin to separate from the whey (the clear, greenish, pukey liquid.. and I fully realize that it is not very professional of me to say “pukey” but let’s face it — I’m also singing rock ballads so we’re obviously past the point of me trying to impress anyone).

break

Let this warm mixture set for about 2 hours (can take longer, I’ve found), until it looks like the picture above.  Now cut the curd (that’s the white part floating on the top) into cubes.

cutcurd

Isn’t that lovely?  I generally feel like a very accomplished chef at this point.  I’m officially ready to pull out my Heart and Bon Jovi mix tapes.  How do I get you alone?  Alllloooooonnnnneeee… be thankful that you don’t live in earshot of my Ann Wilson impressions.

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Warm the curds and whey over LOW heat, stirring from time-to time, and keep the curds from becoming a big lump until the temperature reaches 108 degrees Fahrenheit and then try to keep it there for about 30-40 minutes.  Stir to keep the curds separated and from cementing themselves to the bottom of the pan.  The thermometer shows the temperature rising in the kettle en route to the magic 108.

curd

With a slotted spoon, scoop the curd into a colander with a kettle staged to catch the whey (Save the whey to make ricotta, okay?).  Let it drain for 15-20 minutes.  Here I go again on my own… Break up the curd and mix in 2 teaspoons of salt.  Make sure you do this so that it mixes in very evenly (trust me on this one… I’ve ignored this little tidbit and lived to regret it).

Now microwave (NOTE: this is the first time I have ever mentioned the use of a microwave in one of my recipes and I will apologize to no one.  It’s supposed to be simple living… not camping.) the curd in a glass bowl for 45-60 seconds.  Use the slotted spoon to remove the curd and begin to knead it by hand to distribute the heat evenly.  Zap it again for 20 seconds or so.

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When cheese is cool enough to touch, knead it like bread dough until smooth. When you can stretch it like taffy, it is done.  The cheese will become stretchy, smooth and shiny.  If it is difficult to stretch and breaks easily, dip it into hot whey for a few seconds to make it warm and pliable.  Then pick it up again and stretch it into a long rope.  Fold over and stretch again. Dip in hot whey as needed to make the cheese pliable.

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When the cheese is smooth and shiny (this takes just a few minutes), it is ready to eat. Shape it into a log or golf-size balls, then store in a solution of 2 teaspoons salt to 1 cup water.  Serve with a totally amazing rock love ballad like the one below… you know I really couldn’t resist:

Forever

My friend, Chapple, tried my recipe and shared her cheesemaking journey on her beautiful blog, Ginger and Limes.  Feeling discouraged? Have you read one too many food blogs or Pinterest posts and suddenly it feels as though everyone else in the world is a master chef? Here’s a post discussing cooking as a muscle: Trial and Error Eventually Pays Off.

  • Holly the Knitter - I didn’t even know it was possible to make mozzarella at home. You rock like KISS!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Amazing, Amazing, Amazing- I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Simple Livin' gal - You will love it. I warn: it took me three tries to get it right. I have no earthly idea what I did wrong the first two times. Perhaps the planets weren’t quite aligned for proper cheesemaking? The world may never know. All I know is that it is great big heaps of fun!ReplyCancel

  • Matriarchy - What can I do at the microwaving part if I don’t have a microwave?ReplyCancel

  • Simple Livin' gal - Hmmm… I will research this.

    I have only used the microwave. You may come to my house.

    There. All fixed.

    🙂

    Okay, I promise to find out for you.ReplyCancel

  • Julie at Elisharose - Well, that’s awesome. I’ve never made mozzerella at home. You inspire me.ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - Oh, I’d love to make my own cheese! What an interesting post. Your Mozzarella looks perfect! Have you tried making Burrata?

    Cheers,

    RosaReplyCancel

  • Simple Livin' gal - Julie at Elisharose,

    You inspire me! Thanks for not giving up on me!

    Rosa,

    I would LOVE to make Burrata! I think that I could add some cream and reduce the milk a bit and possibly have it. I will experiment and let you know if I can get it somewhere close. I would also like to make my own Fontina. So far, I’ve only made basic hard cheeses (white cheddar, etc.), cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, and feta.

    Once we get our dairy goats going — I plan to try more!

    Blessings to you, Rosa!ReplyCancel

  • Shelli - Wow that looks yummy. I’ve always been interested in making cheese, being that it’s my favorite food group.ReplyCancel

  • The Cotton Wife - Ohyummygoodness!!

    I love you Ann… I mean, Lacy!!ReplyCancel

  • The Cotton Wife - Ooh – someone just arrived here from Chester, VA.

    Message me whoever you are – we’re neighbors! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Aunt Laura - Awesome post! I’m fascinated by your endless talentsReplyCancel

  • warren - Excellent! And I *can* hear you singing from here…tone it down, eh? Just kidding. You rock like KISS!ReplyCancel

  • Michele - Okay, this is on the to try out list.

    I’m going to print it though because of time constraints I can’t get to it any sooner than the weekend of the 24th.ReplyCancel

  • elra - Now I am so tempting to make my own cheese. Thanks for sharing. Definitely bookmarking this.
    Cheese… I mean Cheers,
    ElraReplyCancel

  • elra - One more thing.
    Are those your Golden? I have 2, they are so adorable. Love them.
    Cheers,
    ElraReplyCancel

  • Maureen - “(NOTE: this is the first time I have ever mentioned the use of a microwave in one of my recipes and I will apologize to no one. It’s supposed to be simple living… not camping.) ”

    tee hee 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe….I am SO making this! Wow….soap and cheese in the same month, pretty darn cool.ReplyCancel

  • Tia Julie - Wow, your endless list of talents amaze me. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kath - You make cheese making look easy!!! I would love to try this sometime with the kids.

    How long does it have to sit before using it on a delicious homemade pizza? May be a dumb question but I know nothing about making cheese.ReplyCancel

  • kerry - now i’m going to have to see if i can find rennet around here.ReplyCancel

  • mojavi at Simple Things - ok I am going to try this this weekend… I am nervous!ReplyCancel

  • The Holly Tree - Okay, that’s it. You keep posting stuff like cheese (and other awesome recipes) and I’m gonna end up looking like a beached whale because I just HAVE to try the stuff out! LOL

    Seriously, though, that does look pretty scrumptious, Lacy. I can almost smell it from here…. 🙂

    Have a great day and a great weekend! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • YDavis - Mmmmm…cheese…I love cheese! Thanks for posting because cheesemaking is something I would like to try this year!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - You make it look so easy. I have a jar of milk I can use, but I don’t have the rennet and I am not sure if I am quite up to it today. I do have some yogurt culture so I can make cottage cheese. As far as I know, if you make cottage cheese, and add salt and heat the cheese over a double boiler, it will be mozzarella also, for someone without a microwave.ReplyCancel

  • Ann - Okay…I didn’t even know you could make cheese at HOME! I mean, wow. I love mozzarella – a little tomato, some basil leaves, a bit of bread and HELLO Heaven! This is nothing short of genius.ReplyCancel

  • Angie - You should be a teacher…the one that is the music and home ec. one!!ReplyCancel

  • ellyn - This looks fantastic. I will be trying it soon. Thanks

    I gave you a little something on my site today. Hope you have a moment to come and pick it up.ReplyCancel

  • Valarie Lea - You are awesome! Cause there is no way I could make that.

    Cheese maker and Kiss lover, got love the combination!ReplyCancel

  • Tipper - Lacy-would love to try this one-thanks for detailing the process!ReplyCancel

  • Laura the Other Knitter - Wow! That’s soooo cool! You make it look so easy, too. Can’t wait for the tomatos and basil and balsamic v\inegar to go with…..yum!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - I went to make cottage cheese and ended up with some great cream cheese. Now to figure out what I want to use it for. I am thinking a nice cheese cake. I just wish I felt better to enjoy making and eating said dessert.ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - I’ve tagged you… please visit my site for more info!

    Cheers,

    RosaReplyCancel

  • Christy Harrill - Oh, I love this. I will have to try it. Now I really want a Jersey or a herd of Nubians. All in good time, I suppose.ReplyCancel

  • JANET IN MICHIGAN - THIS IS SO VERY COOL—I WILL BE THE TALK OF THE TOWN HAHA THANK YOU SO MUCH!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa in South Carolina - i will tell everyone cuz i cnt wait to try it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sophie - Your cheese looks so tasty!!!! MMMMMM…ReplyCancel

  • Welcome Back, Cotta! : Razor Family Farms - […] to find out how to make your very own mozzarella cheese?  Of course you do.  By all means, click here to be transported into another cheesy […]ReplyCancel

  • Kai - Ummm, about how much cheese does this make?

    Looks great.

    I make your yogurt every week.ReplyCancel

  • Bonni - I have a hankering just to stop at the curds. Here in Canada serving french fries with mozza cheese curds on top covered in gravy is a specialty! mmm mmm MMMMMM!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Kinlyside - You really rock! This looks sooooo good I want to make some now. Do you use homogenised milk for this?ReplyCancel

  • Can Hardly Wait » Razor Family Farms - […] Read about our adventures last April in Pure and Simple, where we as: “In the name of all things good and holy, where did all of our time and money go?”  Check back later for a tutorial on making your own ricotta cheese (but only after you’ve made mozzarella!). […]ReplyCancel

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