Delicious, homemade cheese in 30 minutes
The urban farming trend is now in full force, dominating suburban gardens with honey-gorged beehives, backyard chicken coops and rooftop raised beds bursting with home-raised fruits and vegetables.
It’s not unusual to prepare your own ingredients for recipes anymore. In fact, more and more restaurants are gloating over their house-made foods and locally grown produce—and the home cook is now following suit.
Urban farming has graduated from its trend moniker; it’s now a lifestyle, an outreach to the past. And something that has taken it to that level is the return of homemade cheese.
A once-dying practice, cheese-making not only offers bragging rights for the homespun creations, but also the flavors of fresh, tender cheeses enlivening salads, pizzas and cracker spreads.
The thought of making cheese may be daunting—a whirlwind of odd contraptions, strange ingredients, and perhaps the most off-putting of all—a whole lot of time.
But a batch of fresh mozzarella requires little more than a gallon of milk and 30 minutes. Citric acid and rennet tablets, which cause the milk to coagulate, can be purchased at fine foods stores or online.
They also store well in the freezer, allowing for old-fashioned cheese-making whenever the mood strikes.
A few finicky rules do apply to homemade cheese, though. Ultra-pasteurized milk should never be used—it won’t form curds; but plain pasteurized, homogenized or fresh milk from a farm will do the trick.
For the purest, creamiest mozzarella, stick to whole milk. Low-fat milk works, but offers a tougher, drier result.
Odd contraptions? There aren’t any, unless you consider a candy thermometer an unusual kitchen gadget. From pot to plate, this mozzarella requires only a colander, slotted spoon, glass bowl and thermometer.
This from-scratch mozzarella lasts up to a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator; although, it more than likely will be eaten within the first few days. Cut up fresh and topped with tomatoes, basil and olive oil, it creates a divine caprese salad. Slid into sandwiches or plopped upon a homemade pizza, it is still a rich delicacy.