I made cheese today! This is actually something I've been dreading doing. I just had no desire to do it. It sounded like a lot of work and I already do enough work. I was not excited about taking on yet another job.
But last night we had a dinner at church and so no one was here to drink milk. We went to pour the milk into gallon jars and discovered ALL our jars were full. So we dumped milk into a pot and we were set. Of course, then I had a gallon of milk sitting in a pot and little excuse to not make cheese. I opted to go with the mozzarella which was supposed to take 30 minutes. It seemed easy enough. But at one stage of the cooking, the recipe said if the curds weren't firm enough (and I was sure they weren't since it looked like thin pudding) to let it sit a few more minutes. No problem, I started washing dishes. Then the phone rang. I wasn't on the phone long, but it was too long.
I think it would have been okay, but on top of that, my thermometer kept telling me the cheese was 120 degrees when really it was higher. I was supposed to work it until it was 135 degrees. So I kept going alternating heating and kneading. Finally it was really burning my hands. This didn't seem right at all. Sure enough, when I messed with the thermometer a bit, it jumped up to 170! I plunged it into ice water, but it was too late.
Fortunately, my kids still liked it and ate nearly all of it right away. It was like the cheese on the top of your pizza AFTER you've cooked it and then let it sit out and get cold--rather rubbery.
But I learned how to do it. I know what I did wrong. And I made this mistake on EXTRA milk. No one had to suffer through a lack of milk or a lack of cheese due to my mistake. I'll try again soon--after Thanksgiving.
I'm still not looking forward to making cheddar. I'm putting that off until I have a laundry room -- with shelves -- so I'll have somewhere to put everything. At least, that's my current excuse.