And it turns out that making cheese is sometimes much easier than you’d expect, and sometimes much harder.
I started with the ricotta. Honestly, you don’t need a kit for this; take milk, add acid, leave for a bit, ditch the whey. I have no idea why I never made this before.
The end result? The most delicious ricotta I’ve ever tasted. I will always make my own ricotta from now on.
I made enough for two lots; one to have fresh and one to make a ricotta salata, which is a pressed, salted, aged variant.
After one day:
After a week, it was dry enough to grate:
I just had to weigh it down and salt it every day to try and dry it out.
It sort of ended up like a very-slightly-dryer fetta at the end. It was nice enough, sort of inoffensive. Not hard to make.
But mozzarella? Wow that’s hard.
Curdling the milk.
Cutting the curds.
Ditching the whey. It’s actually quite tasty at this point. But nothing like mozzarella.
After this step, it becomes a million times harder than making ricotta. You need to melt the curds in water at 70-80 degrees and then handle them while they’re still boiling hot, with your bare hands, and stretch them and fold them and stretch them and fold them. It’s how they get that really chewy, stringy consistency.
Then you need to shape them into neat balls, without squeezing any of the moisture out of them, or else the cheese ends up dry. This bit is actually harder than handling boiling-hot cheese products, if you can imagine.
The final product. It was bloody delicious. But I’m buying my mozzarella from now on.
The fourth cheese that my kit makes is mascarpone, but I haven’t tried that yet. I want to wait until I need it for tiramisu 🙂