And I Can Cook, Too

Friday, August 17, 2007

August 1, 2007



Say Cheese!

My friend Kim has survived four months on Fake!Mars in part by providing edible meals for herself and her crew. One of her clever discoveries was her ability to make homemade cheese. I decided that if Kim, PHD, Pilot, Fake!Mars Scientist, Artificial Intelligence Expert, and part-time NASA employee could do it, so could my seven year old niece. I purchased a beginners cheese making kit from New England Cheesemaking Supply, bought a gallon of whole milk, instructed Frannie to pull a stool up to the kitchen stove, and we were off. We started by dissolving 1/2 teaspoons of rennet in a cup of water. We then poured a gallon of whole milk into a large stockpot, added 1-1/2 teaspoons of citric acid, and turned on the heat. We needed the milk to come to 88 degrees, and after explaining to Frannie what happens when milk gets to hot and comes to a boil, she was insistent that we check the temperature every 45 seconds.



She is one bright kid. The milk heated a lot fasted than I expected it to, and we quickly stirred in our rennet water and set the timer for 8 minutes. During those eight minutes, the curds separated from the whey and our mozzarella had begun.



We sliced the curds into chunks and, using a slotted spoon, transferred them into a bowl. We then pressed down on the curds to release more whey, and drained it off. We then went through a series of re-heating and re-pressing the curds until they had congealed into one large lump and were starting to resemble cheese. It was time to pull. Treating the curds like taffy, we stretched and pulled them until they transformed into a shiny string of mozzarella. We then kneaded the string into a ball and submerged it into ice water to cool. A resounding 45 minutes after turning on the heat, our mozzarella was done.

2 Comments:

  • At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a gallon of whole milk in the 'fridge just waiting for an uninterrupted 45 minutes so that we can keep on making the cheese! (I'm no fool, so I also have a backup bag of Sargentos)
    The sunscreen does give them a ghostly glow.

    (You know who I am; I forgot my password, so I'm not logged in)

     
  • At 1:55 PM, Blogger Kristin Van Bodegraven said…

    You know what I say, duct tape the kids to a a wall and make cheese!

     

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