Friday, June 27, 2014

Mad Millies Beginners Italian cheese making kit

 For Giftmas I was lucky enough to receive this very spiffy DIY cheese kit, good for over 10 batches of cheese (approx 6kg in total), as produced by "Mad Millie". This is the Mad Millie Beginners Italian Kit With recipes and all the ingredients you need (apart from the milk) to make some of the following: Fresh Italian Mozzarella and Bocconcini (approx 600g/batch), Ricotta (approx 400g/batch), Ricotta Salata (approx 100g/batch), Burrata Mascarpone (approx 700g/batch). I recently rediscovered the kit on top of the refrigerator and I had wanted to make mozzarella as my first attempt. We sourced some UN-homoginized milk (as some reading indicated that would work better) I got ready to make some delicious cheeze! Included in the kit are the  vegetarian rennet tablets (the enzymatic agent that causes the milk to coagulate), cheese salt (which is iodine-free, so as not to inhibit bacterial maturation),  citric acid (to acidify the mixture, allowing the rennet to act more effectively), calcium chloride (to re-introduce calcium often lost in milk-processing)  as well as the cheese cloth  measuring pipette, and thermometer needed. With my 2L of fancy un-homoginized milk, and the added backup of my fancy new digital Range iPhone thermometer I made my attempt, and ended up with ... ricotta.  After the process, which may have been less delicate than it should have been, I balled my finished product, and let it hang to drain off the last of the whey. I ended up with a mass of cheese that yielded 450g, and I let it sit for  a few days to settle, before breaking open my ball, and seeing what I had wrought. It had been obvious in my preparation that the coagulation step didn't ever really happen. I had curds, but never the solid custard-like phase that needed cutting. My mozzarella failed, but I ended up with a pretty decent, if crumbly, fetta type of cheese.   At this stage I am putting it down to poor technique on my part, and not the kit. Whist I am fairly confident that the temperatures and times were right, as I had the digitally controlled and timed Range to fall back on, I have a feeling that the initial combination of ingredients, and stirring may have been heavy handed on my part.
So whilst this first attempt certainly didn't result in the delicious creamy and plain ball of mozzarella that I had anticipate, I did manage to turn a volume of milk into a storable bulk of cheese. I felt that it had sufficiently dehydrated to retard bacterial spoilage in the short term, and over the space of a few days, I broke it apart and sprinkled the product over a variety of dishes, like these patties. I have successfully made cheese with this kit. Now to work out how to make the cheese I want to make.