Your delicious new hobby.
The ooey-gooey goodness of cheese….. How does it get into our mouths? And who is responsible for getting it there?
It’s probably safe to say that you know cheese has something to do with a cow. (If you do, 10 POINTS FOR GRYFFINDOR!)
“Cheesemaking is a science experiment you can eat.”
– CEO (Cheesy Experience Officer) of Urban Cheesecraft
Your cheese making New Hobby Box includes:
With these items we’ll be walking you through how to create your own Ricotta & Mozzarella cheese. However, if you prefer to try out another type of cheese, this kit can also get you started making Queso Blanco, Paneer, and fresh Farmer’s cheese. (Your kit can supply you with about (8) 1.5lb – 2lb batches of cheese)
Please note: The kits and supplies are hand-poured, hand-folded and assembled in a food-safe, fully-licensed facilities that strictly follow the Department of Agriculture cleaning guidelines. The food items are all gluten-free but packaged in a room that may come in contact with wheat, soy, corn, nuts and other food allergens.
Before getting straight into how to make ricotta and mozzarella cheese, here are a few cheese making terms you should know:
Monger – A person who specializes in making cheese!
Curdling – Sometimes called coagulation, is the process by which a liquid, (in this case milk), changes to a thickened, curd-like, insoluble state by chemical reaction. So curdling is what makes the liquid milk become a cheese solid.
Curd – The solids formed in curdled (or coagulated) milk from which cheese is made.
Rennet – A natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother’s milk. Rennet contains a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called rennin or chymosin, but there are also other important enzymes in it, e. g., pepsin or lipase.
Whey – The liquid byproduct of producing cheese. Because whey contains significant proteins, lactose and minerals, it is increasingly being used as an ingredient in producing other foods. Whey is often used to make Ricotta.
Casein – The principal protein in milk. During the cheesemaking process, casein solidifies, curdles or coagulates into cheese through the action of rennet.
Clean Break – Once the milk has been inoculated and renneted, it will coagulate or thicken. A clean break is when you plunge a clean bent finger into the coagulated milk and lift your finger up and out cleanly. It will at first look like a pudding trying to stick to your finger, then it will just fall away cleanly leaving a small puddle of whey where your finger once was.
Citric Acid – Used to increase acidity when necessary.
Cheese Families – Cheese is organized into families or categories by the way they are made. There are seven cheese families and this can help you decide what types of cheese you like and whether or not you might want to attempt this style of cheese.
Aging – Another term for cheese “ripening.”
Affinage – The art and science of cheese ripening.
Body – The physical attributes of cheese when touched, handled, cut or eaten. The body may feel rubbery, firm, elastic, soft, resilient, yielding, supple, oily, etc. When rolled between the fingers or cut, it may appear waxy or crumbly. Its “mouth feel” may be grainy or creamy. A cheese also may be felt to determine its condition of ripeness.
Pasteurized – A term describing milk that has been heat treated to destroy bacteria. Most factory-produced cheeses are made from pasteurized milk to ensure greater control over quality and more uniform consistency. Processed cheeses also may be pasteurized to check further ripening.
Turophile – A lover of cheese. Taken from the Greek word turos (cheese) and the root phil (love).
MAKING RICOTTA CHEESE
- Teaspoon of citric acid (included in NHB)
- Teaspoon of cheese salt- to taste (included in NHB)
- Gallon of milk
- Large pot- at least 5 quart
- Butter muslin/fine cheesecloth (included in NHB)
- Thermometer (included in NHB)
- Stirring utensil
Yield: 1 ½ lbs
STEP 1. Measure the citric acid into 1/4 cup of water and stir.
STEP 2. Pour the milk into the pot. Heat the milk to 185°F (do not allow to boil over). Stir often to prevent scorching.
STEP 3. Pour the citric acid solution into the milk and mix thoroughly.
STEP 4. As soon as the curds and whey separate clearly, turn off the heat. Allow curds to set undisturbed for 10 minutes.
STEP 5. Line a colander with butter muslin (fine cheesecloth). Drain in the colander for 15-30 minutes, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency. Feel free to add more salt and any flavorings you’d like.
CONGRATS! You’ve just made ricotta 😉 The cheese is ready to eat immediately. However, if you wish to store it, it must be covered in a refrigerator and used within one week.
If you are a visual learner (like us) check out the video below on how to make ricotta cheese with your kit!
MAKING MOZZARELLA CHEESE
- 1 gallon of whole cow’s milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized, regular pasteurized or raw milk are great)
- 1 ½ tsp citric acid (included in NHB)
- ¼ rennet tablet (included in NHB)
- 1/2 cup chlorine free drinking water
- 2 tsp cheese salt, to taste (included in NHB)
- 1 tsp Italian herb blend, or your choice of herbs (optional)
- Thermometer (included in NHB)
- Microwaveable bowl for microwave stretching method
- Large heat-resistant bowl and ladle for hot water stretching method
Yield: 1 ½ lb
STEP 1. Dissolve ¼ rennet tablet into 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water. Stir and set aside. Wrap the remaining pieces of tablet and store in the freezer.
STEP 2. Mix 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid and 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.
STEP 3. Pour the milk into your pot. Pour the citric acid solution in and stir thoroughly. Heat to 90°F at medium heat, stirring occasionally and checking the temperature often. Stay close.
STEP 4. At 90°F slowly stir in the rennet solution with approximately 20 strokes. The milk could already show clear signs of coagulation but it needs to develop further. Take the pot off the heat and cover for 15 minutes.
Note- if you will not use a microwave for Step 6, start to heat a gallon of water separately in a large pot so it’s ready.
STEP 5. Test the curd by making a 2 inch cut. The cut should have sharp lines and clear, yellow whey should fill the cut. If not, let it set for another 30 minutes. If it never sets, switch brands of milk.
If you have a solid curd, i.e. looks like a pot full of solid shiny yogurt, slice it up into roughly one inch cubes (think tic, tac toe grid and then under cut to slice horizontally as well as you can).Move the cubes very gently (cut any large pieces you find) while you continue to heat until the whey reads 110°F for 2-3 minutes (lower the heat to avoid overheating). The curd should have visibly changed. Look for less sharp edges and less slippery curd. Less yogurt, more scrambled eggs. Take the pot off the heat. Skip down to step 6.
If the curd doesn’t look like shiny custard or yogurt but looks like clumps of cheese floating in yellow liquid, you’re still in good shape. Cut, then heat the curd as instructed above. Proceed.
For Microwave stretching method go on to STEP 6.
For Non-Microwave hot water stretching method:
Scoop your curd into a flat dish as in Step 6. Pour off any excess whey, flatten the curd gently by pressing with one entire hand (you should see your hand imprint slightly). Let the curd rest at room temp for about 10 minutes while you heat some water as instructed in STEP 7.
Step 6. (Microwave Stretching Method)
Ladle the curds into a large microwaveable bowl. Put on your rubber gloves or use a large spoon for step 8. You just want curds in the bowl so gently hold back the curds while you pour any extra whey back into the pot (don’t press much).
Heat the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.
Gently use a spoon to fold the curds over several times and evenly distribute the heat. Drain off any released whey into the pot.
Microwave for 30 seconds this time. Drain whey again. Add salt (adjust as you like). This is also the time to add herbs. Mix them in by stretching and folding the curd another 10-15 times. Work quickly so you don’t lose too much heat.
Microwave for another 30 seconds. Drain whey again and fold the curd 10-15 times gently- try stretching. It must be 135°F to stretch properly but do not waste time or heat trying to get a temp reading. You may need to fold the curd a few more times. Every batch is different and mozzarella stretching is highly dependent on proper heat.
The curd should ideally get springy and shiny but be patient with this part. It takes practice.
Feel free to heat one more time for 30 seconds if the curd is tearing- it cooled to much to shape. Once you get a nice stretch, move on to Step 8.
STEP 7. (Hot water stretching method)
***This method is more challenging but rewarding and traditional.
For this hot water bath (no microwave) stretching method you will need a gallon of water that is simmering at about 185°F. Leave it on the burner on the lowest setting. It’s ok if it boils- we will temper the curd with leftover whey first.
Split prepared curd into four portions- you will get better with each portion as you practice. If you’ve done this many times, feel free to heat and stretch all curd at one time. Place one portion of the curd in your heat resistant bowl.
Ladle about 1 cup of the warm whey (not hot water yet!) on top of the curd- we are tempering it, i.e. slowly increasing temp.
Now ladle about 1 cup of hot water on the curd, or enough to cover it. Allow the curd to warm for 3 minutes.
Pour off this whey/water combo into the whey pot.
Now, ladle two fresh cups of hot water onto the curd again, making sure it’s covered. Allow it to warm for another 2-3 minutes.
Feel the curd and see if it feels softer and more rubbery than before. Try to press it together gently and fold it a couple of times.
Lift the ball out of the water, fold a couple of times and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per quarter portion or 2 teaspoons for the whole batch of curd. Fold and stretch the curd to blend in the salt (this is when it is very helpful to use light and fast dissolving cheese salt- if you are using other salt, cut quantity by half and fold more).
If the curd cools too much, repeat the previous step with new hot water once or twice. Curd will not stretch if it is not hot enough but we want to avoid overheating as well. This is the craft part that takes patience and practice with mozzarella.
Proceed with shaping as described in Step 8 below.
Repeat heating, stretching and salting on the remaining 3 portions of curd. If temperamental curds just won’t stretch, do not despair. Just fold, salt, and press warm curds into a bowl to shape them that way. Practice, practice! It is better to under-stretch and enjoy a tender farmer’s cheese wheel than to overheat and over handle and end up with a dry rubber ball.
STEP 8. To shape into balls- Take a portion of curd and fold it over itself 3 or 4 times.
Then hold the curd with one hand as you come up from under the stack with the other hand to push it up from below. Use the index finger and thumb of the first hand to make a hole through which to push the stack, then pinch the ball that forms- this is where the name Mozzarella comes from- Mozzare means to cut off in Italian. Repeat. Enjoy the leftover bits now!
Dunk the balls in a bowl of cool water so they don’t flatten. Repeat with all curd. Have fun experimenting with knots and braids if you got a great stretch.
This month we’ve teamed up with an expert in the cheese making field to give you unlimited email support. Please let us know if you have any questions with these types of cheeses!!!
In addition, checkout the other types of cheeses you can make with your supplies:
(In both of these videos, they use vinegar rather than citric acid. You can use either one!)
We hope you have an amazing & delicious time with your new hobby- Let us know how it goes! Get the conversation started by dropping a comment below.
Until next month,
Your friends @NewHobbyBox 🙂