Thursday, August 10, 2006

The 4th Gallon

Finally. It took screwing up three gallons worth of milk before I figured out how to make good fresh mozzarella. The first gallon's cheese, I stretched too little (bread dough texture). The second gallon's cheese I stretched too much (dry texture, like normal pizza mozzarella). The third gallon God only knows what I screwed up since it remained a curd puddle and I couldn't get it to form a ball at all. That batch was dumped into the trash.

But last night I finally shook off the cheese incompetence curse and made this:
Firm, but creamy.
And just in time too since my tomatoes and basil are all ready to be picked and turned into this little darling that we consumed at dinner last night:
Tomato mozzarella salad--dressed with a little good balsamic, olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped up basil and a few chopped chives.

I gotta say, the instructions in the mozzarella kit suck. I ended up taking what I had learned from the previous three gallons and finally getting it right. One thing I did was use the damn cheese cloth that came with the kit and that they never tell you to use. It made draining the curds from the whey so much faster--I was actually able to make the successful mozzarella in about 30 minutes. And I was very careful not to over stretch or under stretch the cheese--I ended up reheating it twice and stretching it just until it turned shiny and then I shaped it into balls and popped them in cool water.

By my count I have enough rennet left to make 36 more batches which should take me through tomato season nicely.


Anonymous said...

Dear Kate,

What a great blog you've got going here! Ami Walsh said I reminded her of you, or vice versa, or something like that. I must say the similarities end in the cooking and knitting department, though I try my best in the first arena.

I jotted down many of your book suggestions, as I trust anyone who loves The Stone Diaries as I do. Then, I peeked around hoping you could help me make a cake for my son's sixth birthday Saturday.

The Thomas looks lovely, but my son is counting on me to create replicas of his favorite bedtime story robots, Maurice and Gerald (also of my creation). Fortunately, he has crafted his own models from blocks, so I know how they look in his mind (much different than they do in mine). Therefore, I need some frosting to work with. Any suggestions for a very basic cake mix? I've got cookbooks galore, but I'm insecure when it comes to baking. Need a recommendation.

I've probably broken protocol by writing so much as a "comment." But I'm getting desparate here, and my hand will be reaching for a box of Betty Crocker soon. Save me!

Thanks so much,


Kate said...

Hi Amy!

I'm not a cake expert by any stretch of the imagination--the only two I feel fairly confident about making are the Lemon Sour Cream one and the Mexican Chocolate one (in the past I had a number of cake mishaps, but those were in pre-blogging days so I don't have a record of them!). The Mexican Chocolate has a very delicate crumb and isn't very sturdy, so I'd give it a pass if you need to work with frosting. I'd guess the Lemon Sour Cream one would hold up well to any amount of necessary robotic manipulation--it is pretty sturdy. (And I'd love to see a photo of the finished cake--my daughter is a big robot fan). Would basic butter cream work to glue the robot parts together? I don't know much about cake decorating, but did use a ziplock with a corner cut off to make the pink 6s on my son's birthday cupcakes (with frosting that, as he dictated, came from a can...) and that worked pretty well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kate!

I just returned from the store, where I bought a vast assortment of artificially flavored and colored products in order to make said robot cake. Between writing to you and the trip to the store, I decided I had enough stressors this weekend without wondering if my from-scratch cake would cut it.

I even bought "markers" made for drawing on frosting. We'll see how that goes.

To restore my pride and reputation, though, I will mention that I just finished preparing a swiss chard and dried cranberries dish.

I'm not all bad.

Thanks again,


Anonymous said...

under 30 mins you are making fresh mozarella seem easy!

racherin said...

take the mozz class at morgan and york...very nice people who are really good at making fresh mozz. (they do it every day during the summer...)