Monday, June 8, 2009

Unplugged Cheese

I have wanted to, for a long time, join in the unplugged weekly projects. I just never seem to get on the ball within the week. But I love that site. Pretty much everything about it jives with me -- reducing "screen" time, no TV, hands-on activity with kids, what's not to love?

So tonight, I go to check out the weekly project, and notice that just the other day, We Chester and the kids did the perfect project to write up and join in. So, here's to what I hope is a future of joining in this carnival. It's totally cool.

We get our milk through a government program for low-income folks like us, called WIC. On WIC, we get a LOT of milk -- more than we could ever hope to drink, since we're not big milk-drinkers. So we often have to get creative to use up our milk before it goes bad. This month we were caught a bit off-guard and ended up with eleven gallons in a week. And we had colds, and were drinking even less milk than usual.

So, I pulled out my normal tricks, making a gallon into cottage cheese, a gallon into yogurt (some of that into yogurt cheese and then cheesecake), a half-gallon into cream-of-mushroom soup for the freezer..... But there's still a lot of milk left.

So Chester, in his brilliance, decides to attempt a more advanced milk-usage project: mozzarella cheese. Last Thursday, he and the kids got everything set up and gave it a try, using a modification of this recipe. (For the record, our milk is homogenized, and pasteurized, and didn't cause any problems. He also omitted the called-for lipase powder and calcium chloride, because he noticed that not all mozzarella recipes include them. We didn't have flaked salt, so he ground some salt in our coffee grinder to make it really fine. It worked great.)

Isn't it beautiful?

It ended up not stringy, though. According to this site, it's probably that the acidity was under-developed.

But it's sure yummy. It's more dry feeling than store-bought mozzarella, but tastes almost exactly like it (which I found impressive). We'll be making it again. And the nice part is that it used an entire gallon of milk to make those logs there (about 8 oz. of cheese, we think)!

The kids talked for days about how much fun it was to make cheese with Dad.


  1. 11 gallons in one week! Wow that is a good example of how the inefficient the government is. Cudos to you guys for being creative so none of it goes to waste. I am sure there are many out there that would just trow it away.

  2. I am so impressed that you made your own cheese! And that you make your own yogurt and cottage cheese. We might have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing the links!

  3. That is amazing!! Thanks for sharing.