More Cheese, Please


As you all know, I’m getting really excited about cheesemaking, and my adventures with ricotta have me psyched to try making more complicated cheeses. Unfortunately, I am totally effing lost about what to do next. I liked belmontmedina’s suggestion: “Mozzarella is definitely the next step- it’s easy. Basically, you just microwave the curds, get a little more whey out of them, and then knead them in to mozzarella. It’s a little like making taffy, but more fun because it’s cheese.” Sounds fun, except like other ESers, I operate my kitchen sans microwave.

So I’ve done some basic searching around, but every recipe I’ve seen, even the ones that claim to be “simple” and “easy,” call for liquid rennet and citric acid. WTF? How can you claim something that calls for an ingredient like that is easy? Do I really need to find somewhere to buy calf insides before I can make my own cheese? Are these things readily available? Is there a simpler next step? If ricotta is that easy, there’s gotta be other cheeses that aren’t that much crazier, no? Or should i just suck it up and find out where to buy me some rennet? What do I do???

Help me, readers. You’re my only hope.

(Photo: cwbuecheler)

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  • belmontmedina January 22, 2009  

    Barbara Kingsolver points to for supplies. Hate to say it, but I think you’ve got to get citric acid and rennet…I seem to remember seeing a recipe that used vinegar in place of citric acid somewhere…

    Sidenote: now that we make cheese and bread on a regular basis, my roommate and I joked that I’m 6 months away from milling my own flour…

  • Steve January 22, 2009  

    Sorry to break the news to you, but almost all cheeses require rennet. Rennet is what causes milk to become cheese. EXCEPT for some soft cheeses like ricotta (as you found out). I would suggest trying cottage/farmers cheese – they’re the same thing, only farmers cheese is drained more. They use some sort of citric acid (lemon juice works great) as the coagulent – their simplicity is why they’re favorites of overworked peasants.

  • MonkeyBoy January 24, 2009  

    I liked this guys site when I was looking around:
    He does use rennet though; you have to digest down the milk protein somehow…

  • JoeHoya January 25, 2009  

    BS – Not all cheeses require animal rennet. In fact, here’s a kit you can order online that makes as much as 7 pounds of mozzarella and uses vegetable rennet:

    Hope that helps!

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