Friday, September 28, 2012

Mozzarella fail

Buoyed by a few different recipes extolling the virtues of how 'easy' making mozzarella would be I thought I'd give it a go.  Although edible items seem to cost an arm and a leg here in der Schweiz, mozzarella is fairly affordable, so it isn't even like I'm saving money on this endeavor.  I guess you could say that I'm doing it for the love of cheese, new experiences, and, let's face it, because I don't really have a life here.  What I hadn't really counted on was the difficulties I would have converting the US recipes into metric measurements, among other things.

Gallons to liters seemed to give me the biggest pain in the rump.  Apparently, one gallon roughly equals 3.78 liters.  I'm good with the 3 liters part, but how much is the .78?  I also found that recipes from back home rely on forms of rennet that seemingly can't be found here.  Back home, rennet, veggie or animal, comes in either tablet or liquid form.  Here in Zurich, I was only able to find rennet in powdered form.

So when the recipes I encountered called for either a 'half tablet of rennet or 1/4 tsp. liquid rennet' then I was sort of at a loss.  Would a 1/4 tsp. of powdered rennet equal a 1/4 tsp. of liquid rennet?  I had my doubts...  A few helpful people sent me a link to a groovy site called New England cheese making supply company and one in particular gave me the approx. measurement for powdered rennet in a recipe calling for two gallons of milk.  Thank you, again, helpful people!

Sadly, it was my floundering around the kitchen with old pots and new tools and no idea of what I was doing, really, that made the mozz flop.

The lame bits:
*I'd over-heated the milk straight away.
*I'd forgotten to add the citric acid before (over)heating the milk.
*I could not actually read the thermometer as it was mostly submerged in milk.
*My pot was too shallow and the thermometer kept slipping down the pot as it couldn't properly clip on the side.
*Strangely, all the recipes I could find had a microwave component (Really?  You're going back-to-basics with the whole cheese-making thing, but using a freakin' microwave?!) and I don't own a microwave, so I had to improvise and did so badly.

It'd post pics of my mozz debacle, but, really, the cheese-y bits looked so effin pathetic, that I just can't bring myself to show all of you.

Even though the end product looked a bit like yellow-y cottage cheese all pressed together in a loose-looking log, I have to say that it didn't taste too bad.  It was actually a bit sweeter than I anticipated it would be, so that was something.  However, because it looked so icky, I just couldn't bear to keep it around.

1.10.12: picture update for Juanita
In lieu of a microwave I'm boiling the slop that is actually already ruined!


  1. Hey, we all get to celebrate our successes and failures on our blogs! Wouldn't mind seeing a pic of your cottage-cheese-mozz.

  2. I see you what you mean. Thanks for the picture!

    You know what, it doesn't look all that bad. Now you just need to find yourself a cheesecloth, to sieve and compact all the 'cottage cheesy' clumps together. I once made Paneer like that.
    And if you're wondering where to get cheesecloth, I once saw them in Manor. In the cooking wares section, close to the baking / jam-making section. I hope they didn't run out of stock or moved things about; my observation is a couple years' old.
    If that fails, I am happy to send you mine :)

  3. Yes, cheese cloth would be a help. I think I actually might have some tucked away somewhere in the kitchen pantry.


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