This was a week filled with cheese making...failures!!! I guess it has to happen at some point! I mentioned on my Garden Blog that making Mozzarella is falsely labeled an "easy beginner cheese" to start with. WRONG! Depends on the type. My Buffalo-style fresh Mozzarella is a snap to make using the 30-minute recipes.
But Cultured Mozzarella...that's a different story. Cultured just means that you add bacterial culture to it to give it a different flavour and consistency. It's made in a very different way than the 30-minute recipe. It takes a day of dedication! I read that making a cultured cheese would make a drier Mozzarella that I could use for pizza. Well, as you can see, attempt number one turned into a curd. Salvaged, but disappointing. Attempt number two turned into a cauliflower-brain-like glob! I tried two different recipes and followed them word for word, but neither of them stretched.
This is what Mozzarella should look like at the final stage - stretched out with no breakage. This stage gives the cheese it's nice smooth texture. Mine didn't even come close. I downloaded a few more cheese making books which I'll be reading this week for some answers hopefully. I also emailed the cheese recipe maker for advice. His response was typical of a seasoned cheese maker and I need a "Pro-cheese-maker / Rain cheese-maker" dictionary to figure out what he's talking about!
Each batch was just as time-heavy as the Cheddar, about 8 hours. And this isn't a cheese you can leave alone. I'm really glad I got a new digital thermometer for cheese making! Of course, we can use it for meats too but it's a lifesaver. It has an alarm that goes off if your temperature gets higher than you want. This saved me a few times so I could make sure the cheese didn't overcook.
This was the result of my third attempt at Cultured Mozzarella. I copied the recipe from a book called Making Artisan Cheese by Tim Smith. But like I mentioned above, I followed the recipe and the cheese still didn't stretch. It turned out much better than the first two though, this one stayed together, was smoother and harder. It's in the fridge now and I want to see if I can grate it for pizza, since that was the reason why I tried making it! I feel like if I fail again at the Cultured Mozzarella that I will need a big break...I don't want to get discouraged at all so I'll try an easy Dry Jack cheese first, then see how courageous I am!