The genius who invented cheese

The coolest home science experiment ever — no, really EVER — is the home cheesemaking kit. I am just dumbstruck at how nifty this is: A gallon of warm milk, citric acid, a rennet tablet (OU hecshered vegetarian rennet, actually) and poof! Cheese. Stringy gooey mozzarella. Or milky, creamy ricotta.

And it’s so ludicrously easy: perfect for kids since nothing gets warmer than tepid bathwater. They get to stretch and pull the mozzarella to make bocconcini or string cheese. It’s so much fun to play with your food. Milk magic in your kitchen.

Once upon a time, cheese was a way of storing milk, and though cognitively we know they’re both dairy products, we’ve completely lost the connection between the two. It’s stunning to realize that something you’ve been buying your whole life is something you can make in your own kitchen out of milk. We have gotten so far away from processing our own food that I had no idea how much milk goes into how much cheese. (not a lot – one gallon makes about 8 oz of mozzarella) Scales fell from my eyes.

There’s a hard cheese kit as well. It won’t have the instant gratification of soft cheese which takes only half an hour, but homemade cheddar is next on my list (aged 8 to 24 months). And I’m now committed to buying CSA milk. For my early cheeses, I used the fanciest organic milk I could find and the flavor was a little ordinary. I like the idea of mixing in herbs and sundried tomatoes as well. Oh, the possibilities.

Gush, gush, gush. Coolest. Toy. Ever.


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2 Responses to “The genius who invented cheese”

  1. Alix Says:

    Thanks for turning us on to this, Sarah! As a big lover of Indian food (and one who likes to cook healthier versions of what we get in restaurants) I started making my own paneer not too long ago. Super-easy; only you have to think about it beforehand, as the liquid has to drain out overnight. But it is a similar story; just-boiling milk, lemon juice or white vinegar, drained, and voila, home-made paneer!

  2. Rachel Says:

    A group of our friends joined us in making several kinds of cheese over New Year’s, using raw milk from a local dairy where we’re friends with the farmers. It was an awesome experience. The mozzarella was fantastic. And we have 2 wheels of hard cheese aging in our basement; I’ll be curious to see if they’re any good, when next winter rolls around…!

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