I’m very much a morning person. It stems from the routine of a childhood growing up on a farm – having to let the dogs out, Dad getting up to harvest in the summer and making sure the workers were out picking turnips in the near dark of the early hours in the winter months. I rarely sleep past 7am on any day, even weekends and even if I went to bed at 2am (although I will probably end up having an afternoon nap!).
Unfortunately Mr LTT is not so good at mornings. He set the alarm for 5:40am yesterday for the Australian F1 qualifying only for them to abandon it due to rain. Too tired to stay up until midnight for the replay, he then set the alarm again for the same time today for the main race. Both times he has woken me up and unable to get back to sleep, I got up yesterday morning and did my food shop, cleaned the house, changed the sheets and was all done by 11am. That left me the whole day to do as I pleased, which basically meant that I got to do baking. Unfortunately two early mornings in a row has caused Mr LTT a migraine, so he will be sick in bed for the rest of the day, leaving me to my own devices. So…more baking it is!
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago now I was on a mission to make some cheese as part of my New Year’s Resolutions but the problem was getting hold of some unhomogenised milk. The extremely helpful Miss South of North/South Food told me I could get it at Sainsbury’s, but we don’t have any near us. I managed to get some at Waitrose in the end. I used Jersey Gold Top for the first batch.
The method I used was from Cheesemaking.com and it has very helpful instructions and photos which incredibly reassuring when you’re making cheese for the first time. I only bought 1 litre of milk stupidly so I used a third of everything else too. It worked really well, I completed the cheese by dropping it in the bowl of cold water and pulled it out. It was then that I realised that I’d gone overboard on the microwave part of the method and squeezed out too much whey. It was just too hard for a mozzarella, I’m pretty sure you could have used it as an eraser, that’s how hard it was.
Determined that I wouldn’t let it get to me, I took a trip to my nearest Morrison’s 7 miles away (that seems like a long way when you live near a city, whereas it’s 7 miles to any shop at my parents’ home!) and managed to locate some Yorkshire “Full cream milk” – perfect! I bought 4 pints of milk this time although I thought I’d ballsed it up because when I stirred in the rennet mixture because I stirred it too much and the curd didn’t sit at the top but clumped in the middle and sat just below the surface. But I carried on and it turned out fine, I kneaded it quite a bit less than the previous time and microwaved only once (and my microwave is 1000W too so I did it on medium heat rather than high). It turned out PERFECTLY. It was creamy and delicious, like posh buffalo mozzarella.
So, in summary:
- If you need milk, your best bet is Jersey Gold Top (generic brand) or Sainsbury’s and Morrisons do their own unhomogenised milk
- Recipe for mozzarella in 30 minutes is here
- I got rennet from a health food shop – mine was vegetarian rennet
- I bought citric acid from a pharmacy but you do have to ask for it.
- I used bottled water as UK tap water contains chlorine – but so does bottled water so do check the levels – I found a small and large bottle of the same brand had different levels in.
- I used a normal thermometer but just made sure it wasn’t sitting on the bottom of the pan.
- 30 secs of stirring in the rennet means 30 seconds, not a minute!
- Don’t go crazy on the kneading – I did about 15-20 “pumps”
- If you have a high powered microwave like me, use a medium heat not a high heat.
- 4 pints makes 2 large balls of mozza (like the ones you get in the single packs from the shops)
Go on, have a go! The make yourself a nice tomato and mozzarella salad!