Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Three Cheese Day – July 18, 2013

on July 25, 2013

I’ve always known I was a bit crazy but now I know I’m REALLY crazy. My niece Samantha is visiting and I wanted to spend a day making cheese with her. I wanted to do cheese that she could taste within a day or two because she’s only got another four days with us. So I pulled out my copy of Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making and Mary Karlin’s Artisan Cheese Making at Home.

I was going to make Lemon Cheese and Queso Fresco from Ricki’s book and Traditional Mozzarella from Mary’s book. Things went a bit awry when I realized I did NOT have any thermophilic starter for the Mozzarella. Fortunately the milk was only up to 70 degrees so we put the pot in an ice bath and changed over to making Ricki’s 30 Minute Mozzarella. (Thank god for Ricki, none of my other books had a recipe that didn’t use thermophilic starter!) Obviously, I need to go buy some thermophilic starter.

Being that I was completely exhausted that day I managed to over heat the milk for the queso fresco as well. I went off and cried for a bit. Then came back and made cheese. More on that later in the post.

The Lemon Cheese came out more crumbly than spreadable. Perhaps it was too much acid. Honestly, I don’t care because it still tasted awesome and I’ve already eaten the whole batch.

The Mozzarella came out perfect, even if I did forget to add the salt. I just had a piece now and the flavor is good and the cheese it tender. I thought about brining it but decided that I’d rather just eat it fresh with some home grown tomatoes.

The queso fresco is what caused my “melt” down. (Cheese humor, sorry lol) I was heating the milk on my induction cook top. It’s just a single pan item that I plug into the wall. It works best with steel pans. If you’re not using steel, you need a metal insert that will heat up instead of the pan. It’s just a round thing with a handle on it. I was using a steel pot coated in enamel and the milk didn’t appear to be heating.

A couple of months ago, I had dropped my insert behind the chest freezer. I was using an enameled steel pot and thought maybe the enamel was causing the problems. So I went fishing for the insert. I had to crawl under my dining table to get to the back of the freezer. Then I got my arm stuck behind the freezer. Then my niece decided it would be really funny to take pictures of my ass stuck in the air while I’m starting to panic like a trapped animal. While having visions of chewing my own arm off, Samantha finally helped me move the freezer just enough to free my arm. And no, I still didn’t have the insert either. It’s stuck between the freezer and the cooling coils on the back. I’m getting ready to dismantle the back of the freezer when Jene comes home. He calmly assesses the situation and rocks the freezer forward so that the insert falls out. Bloody strong men get on my last nerve sometimes. (I mean that with lots of love but I’m jealous because I wouldn’t have had the strength to pull that off.) So I go to start putting stuff back under the table and have a full box of half pint jars (with filling) land on my arms. Now, normally that wouldn’t have been so bad but I was BADLY sunburned from the day before. I screamed, Sam and Jene laughed and when I finally got the box off my arms, I went to my room and cried. Jene did apologize for laughing at least.

So… all that effort and I come back to find out that not only has my milk heated while I was busy being dumb but it’s gone OVER the temp. At which point I melted again. Took the milk off the heat and put it on the counter. Then proceeded to ignore it for an hour or two while I finished up the mozzarella and lemon cheeses.

I got lucky because once the milk got close to temp I put my culture in, then the rennet and actually got some really nice cheese out of it. Still, I am NEVER going to try and make three different cheeses all at once. I don’t think my brain can handle it.

Samantha did say she had fun and learned a lot. She even suggested to her mom that they make cheese for the farmer’s market back in KS. (Mom said No!) I learned a lot too, like don’t bite off more than you can chew! (that’s another cheese(y) joke)

So here’s some pictures of what I made…

This is the lemon cheese. As you can see, it’s crumbly. But I managed to eat it all in two days. 😉

cheesemixtriplecheesechickenparmesan

Here’s my mozzarella. Today I cut some up and ate it with homegrown cherry tomatoes. Personally, I think this batch was MUCH better than my last batch. This time I left the lipase powder out and there was no sour after taste.

mozzarellaMay272013

Finally, this is the queso fresco. As you can tell, I couldn’t wait to eat some lol. It’s solid but crumbles nicely if you want it to. It’s also got a nice tang to it.

quesofrescojuly192013

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