See that stuff on the left...it was milk just 10 minutes before we took this picture. Cool, huh?
There are two methods for making mozz, and this time around, we opted for the easier one. Instead of carefully cultivating a culture, we used a combo of rennet and citric acid to turn a gallon of milk from Strafford Organic Creamery into lasagna fixin's.
The recipe we used comes from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company website. It's easy to find and easy to follow, so I'm not gonna write down all of the steps. They also sell all of the necessary supplies, sans the kitchen implements and the milk itself.
This picture shows the stretching process. If you've ever made taffy, you'll find it's pretty similar.
We ended up with 1 1/4 pounds of fresh cheese. At a nearby grocery store, the conventional, non-local fresh mozzarella goes for $7.99 a pound, so 1 1/4 pounds would cost $10. Our cost for the local, organic version: $9.
We decided to increase the bang we were getting for our bucks by making some ricotta from the leftover whey. We heated the liquid to 200 degrees and strained it through a double layer of cheesecloth. Lo and behold, about 2 tablespoons of ricotta. Oh well! Luckily, Caitlin had made a batch of ricotta with whole milk earlier in the week, so we had enough for our lasagna.
The remaining whey became fertilizer for Jeremy and Caitlin's vegetable garden. If you make cultured cheeses, though, the whey can also be used as a starter for making lacto-fermented veggies such as pickles and sauerkraut.
I had to much fun making the cheese that I ordered some supplies for myself, so check back for more cheesy posts in the near future.