If you’ve read books, articles, and blog posts and watched videos about making cheese, but you still haven’t done it, here’s an idea — buy a cheesemaking kit! Sometimes the prospect of buying the equipment and ingredients can seem just daunting enough to stop you in your tracks. That’s the cool thing about the cheesemaking kits from New England Cheesemaking. They provide almost everything you need. And the typical kitchen will have everything else.
Their mozzarella and ricotta kit includes a dairy thermometer, muslin cheesecloth, vegetable rennet tablets, citric acid, cheese salt, and recipe book. As long as you have a 5-quart pot and a spoon, you are ready to party. Now if you’re still scared, do I have to tell you that last summer I taught 82 children, ages 8 to 15, how to make mozzarella? I’ve been teaching adults for years, but it’s super fun to teach kids, and I’m doing it again this year during our farm camp. The children have had zero failures. You can do it too!
I have made just about every mistake in the book when it comes to making mozzarella, and most have been made while I was teaching a class. But I always wound up with cheese in the end. The only “unforgivable” mistake is using ultra-pasteurized milk. This is not a problem if you’re using your own fresh milk from your cows, goats, or sheep. But if you’re buying store-bought milk, be sure to check the label, and don’t get anything that says ultra-pasteurized, high-temp pasteurized, UP, or UHT. That milk has been heated to 280 degrees under pressure, which denatures the proteins, making it impossible to use for cheesemaking.
The mistake I’ve seen the most with my quick mozzarella recipe is someone accidentally using 1/2 teaspoon rather than 1/2 tablespoon of citric acid, which I have done myself — twice! You will still get cheese, but only about half as much as if you’d used the correct amount of citric acid.
If you just need one final little push to try your hand at making cheese, the nice folks at New England Cheesemaking have agreed to give away one of their mozzarella and ricotta kits to one of our readers in the US. I haven’t actually used their cheesemaking kit, but I’ve used their ingredients for years. I bought my very first cultures and rennet from them back in 2002, and I’ve been recommending them to beginning cheesemakers ever since.
If you’d like to enter the giveaway, there are lots of options listed below. This week, we’re giving you three (yes, 3!) entries if you leave a blog post comment telling us about your cheesemaking challenges — or why you haven’t tried yet. (We really want to hear your cheesemaking stories and excuses.) Be sure to use your real name when leaving a comment so that we can match it up with your entry in case you win. You’ll have one week to respond with your address if you win or we will draw another winner. Make sure to check back on the website when we announce the winner and check your spam folder so you won’t miss our email!
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