Cheesemaking can be both a fun and healthy way to teach your kids about food. It’s a little time consuming, but with the right tools and planning, anyone can do it! In her new book, One-Hour Cheese: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Chèvre, Paneer–Even Burrata. Fresh and Simple Cheeses You Can Make in an Hour or Less!, Claudia Lucero gives readers not only recipes with gorgeous photos, but a comprehensive list of how to set yourself up for DIY cheese making success!
Inspired to teach herself the ancient practice of cheesemaking, Lucero set out to find a way to make fresh, homemade cheese the old fashioned way – without any complicated instructions or fancy equipment. The result was a successful DIY cheesekit business, Urbancheesecraft.com, sold on Etsy and at Williams-Sonoma and select Whole Foods. Now Claudia shares her expertise in the inspiring, full color cookbook, ONE HOUR CHEESE: RICOTTA, MOZZARELLA, CHÈVRE, PANEER–EVEN BURRATA. FRESH AND SIMPLE CHEESES YOU CAN MAKE IN AN HOUR OR LESS!
Based on thousands of years of cheesemaking wisdom, the approach is simple: Heat milk, add coagulant, drain, salt, and press. Simplified further with the guidance of Lucero, anyone can take on this beloved food. Through step-by-step instructions and photos, you’ll learn how to make 16 delicious cheeses – each with endless variations, simple instructions, easy-to-find ingredients, and limited prep time; plus unique serving suggestions for each cheese (strawberry cheesecake anyone?), how to make the perfect cheese platter, cocktail recipes, and more! This book is an indispensible guide to creating fresh, simple cheeses with ease in your very own kitchen.
Here’s just one of our favorite DIY cheese recipes from the book:
Favorite Melty Mozzarella Cheese
- Time needed: 45 minutes
- Makes: 1 1/2 pounds
- Biggest Pain: Pasteurization varies and ultra-pasteurized milk (sometimes unlabeled) does not allow coagulation with this recipe.
- Uses: Your go-to snacking and melting cheese for everything.
- Recommended Milk: 1 gallon whole cow’s milk, and 1 cup cow’s milk cream
- Worth Mentioning: This recipe relies on microwave use; alternate instructions for heating and stretching are included, but may take longer and require more practice.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid
- 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup dechlorinated water
- 1/4 tablet vegetarian rennet
- 1 gallon whole cow’s milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 cup cream (optional)
- 2 teaspoons flake salt
- 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup
- 5-quart stockpot
- Large slotted spoon
- Cooking thermometer
- Large microwave-safe casserole dish or bowl
- Plastic gloves (optional)
- Parchment or waxed paper (optional)
- Large bowl for ice bath (optional)
1 Stir the citric acid into the ½ cup water and set aside.
2 Dissolve the ¼ tablet of rennet in the ¼ cup of water and set it aside.
3 Pour the milk into the pot. Optional: Add the cup of cream to make a more succulent cheese, closer to fresh mozzarella di bufala!
4 Stir in the well-dissolved citric acid solution and heat on medium to 90°F.
5 When the milk temperature reaches 90°F, add the rennet solution and mix it in with 20 quick strokes to make sure it is incorporated evenly. Then, without stirring, continue heating.
6 Heat to 105°F if you plan on using the microwave method to stretch the cheese (for stretching in a hot whey bath, heat to 110°F). Coagulation will start to happen; look for separation between curds and whey, clumps, or a yogurt-like texture.
7 Use the spoon to slice large clumps of curd to just 1 to 2 inches in size. Slowly move the pieces around in the warm whey for 1 minute to help them shrink as they cook. Lower the heat to hold the temperature of the milk as soon as it reaches 105°F/110°F.
8 When the texture of the curds has changed from that of soft yogurt to that of a scrambled egg (about 2 additional minutes of cooking and gentle stirring), scoop the curds into the microwave-safe bowl.
9 Drain off any visible whey into the pot as you hold the curds with your hands or a spoon. Flatten the curds across the bowl for more even heating.
10 Microwave the curds for 1 minute on high (the default quick-heat settings usually do the trick). Using the spoon or your hands, fold the curd mass over itself 5 times, to distribute the heat evenly. Drain off any whey that is released.
11 Microwave again for 30 seconds on high. Drain the whey immediately. Sprinkle salt on the curds and fold and flatten them 10 times to incorporate the salt evenly. (Note: If it’s too hot on your hands, use a spoon or wear clean plastic gloves.)
12 Microwave for another 30 seconds on high. There should be very little whey now. Fold the curds over themselves repeatedly, pressing down between folds. The curds normally transform most dramatically into cheese after this heating.
13 The curd temperature should be 135°F, though you don’t want to stop to check, since the curds will cool in the time it takes to do so. The curds may come together to form one large mass in as few as 5 folds or as many as 30.
14 During the folding process, the curds will start out looking a little like lumpy cookie batter, then will suddenly become springy and stretchy like perfect bread dough. Test it by stretching the curd a little every few folds.
15 The curd becomes mozzarella when the edges look smooth and the surface looks shiny when stretched. This is when you can form it into smooth balls, ropes, or other shapes.
16 If you like the result now, you are done. If the curd tears or shreds into strings, it cooled too much for additional stretching. Heat it in the microwave for another 30 seconds. (Note: The less you heat and stretch your mozzarella, the more tender it will be.)
Photo and recipe with permission from Workman Publishing