Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Gift of Cheesemaking

I thought the perfect accompaniment to my spicy fried chicken would be some NJ tomatoes, perhaps the last before all tomatoes become mealy and nothing tasting, and some fresh mozzarella.

A few months ago I decided that my love for all things cheesy was sufficiently strong that it was time to learn to craft my own. I envisioned myself lovingly producing artisinal cheeses right in my own little kitchen, hopeful that cheesemaking was that long-awaited undiscovered talent just looking for the opportunity to blossom forth. Maybe I would quit my job (or a bad man would take it away from me) and I could devote my life to producing gourmet cheese. Could I rent some space in a cave to age my coveted masterpieces until they were ready to be sold at market for exorbitant sums? Would there be room in my apartment? Would I need a cheese studio? Should I alert Saveur in case they want to send out a reporter?

I ordered the deluxe cheese kit (hey, rated "BEST OVERALL" by the Wall Street Journal). My first attempt at mozzarella, back in May, produced a hard Polly-O lump - completely misshapen and bland. I refined my strategy and gave it another shot last night.

Start with one gallon of milk:



Add special secret ingredients to curdle it:



Scoop and drain the curds:



Heat them in the microwave, knead them, stretch them, and drain them some more:



Voila - so cute!



The only problem – this batch was dry, crumbly, and bland. Only a serious dousing in olive oil and salt made the cheese even remotely tasty, otherwise it was just sort of, I don't know, white tasting. Here it is, with tomatoes and oil:



What am I doing wrong with this accursed cheese? There must be a way to make it more cheesylicious somehow! I am still nursing the hope that my gift will shine forth; perhaps I am destinied for a future in hard cheeses rather than soft? Stinky rather than delicate? Do I need to go to cheese camp?

2 Comments:

Blogger Randi said...

Maybe it was your milk? Did you use garden variety supermarket kind or some organic non BGH kind?

7:58 PM  
Blogger s.j.simon said...

:) did you know how cheese was invented? It wasnt necessity, it was an accident, read this

3:36 AM  

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