Ever since reading, Animal,
Vegetable, Miracle I wanted to try making my own mozzarella. It seemed so easy, and the idea of a fresh caprese with tomatoes and basil from my own garden sounded so delicious!
I asked for cheese making supplies for my Birthday last year, but Hubby heard "hard" when I said "soft", so I had the opportunity to make some hard cheeses this winter. I made gouda and Monterey Jack. That was fun, and the taste was awesome, but it takes…all…..day…..and then you have to wait - 2 months for Monterey Jack and 4 for gouda - for the cheese to age. I was drawn to the instant gratification of mozzarella.
So, this summer I finally tried it, and it was very cool! The cheese gets all stretchy, just like Ricki's pictures!
The first few times I made it, it worked, but the flavor was kind of…blah! The curd didn't form very well. And it didn't melt which was not only weird but disappointing! I was very excited about make Fettunta, but the bread burnt & the cheese didn't melt.
The problem is, I didn't really have a great source of real milk. The milk from Costco and Trader Joe's are both rBST-free, but that's the best I can do...or so I thought. I bought mine from Costco the first time, and Trader Joe's milk worked too, though it didn't make as nice of a curd. Recently I tried Oberweis, and that was far tastier. It was a "milkier" taste. Oberweis claims to be rBST-free, hormone free and to have lower somatic (dead) cell counts than organic milk standards require. It's then pasteurized, but at a much lower temperature than most dairies. Their goal isn't to extend the "best by" date but rather to get it to consumers within 36-48 hours. This is a good goal, one that's in line with my goals.
Oberweis is expensive, about $3 a *half* gallon, plus $1.50 for the (refundable) bottle deposit. It's definitely worth it for cheese making, but switching to it for drinking is a more difficult decision.