After seeing a million pins about making your own cheese, I decided to give it a try. How hard could it be, right? So, I clicked through a pin to read the recipe for mozzarella cheese…and my bubble was burst pretty quickly. Not only did the recipe include a bunch of ingredients that I had never heard of (rennent? citric acid?), but I also needed lots of supplies that I didn’t have in my kitchen.
But, undaunted, I decided to keep calm and carry on. I found kits from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, and decided to pick up one of their 30 Minute Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit. This kit costs about $30 with shipping and includes almost everything you need to make 30 batches of cheese. You just have to add the milk.
I gave it a try…and here was my result:
- You get everything you need (other than the milk) in one kit. It costs about the same as buying supplies separately the first time, since you get a thermometer, recipe booklet, and yard of butter muslin along with the rennet, citric acid, and cheese salt. After the first kit, you can buy refills on these ingredients separately for a cheaper price than purchasing a second kit.
- The price is right. It works out to $1 + the cost of milk for each batch of cheese. My first batch weighed well over a pound. It’s less than half of what you’d pay at the grocery store.
- Fresh cheese is SO much better tasting than mass-produced store-bought stuff.
- The directions were really easy to follow, even for someone who has never made cheese before. I appreciated the clarity and the pictures, and the recipe booklet also includes a few recipes to make with the cheese after it’s made and with the whey (the cheese buy-product from the milk).
- I think “30 Minutes” is a little misleading. I don’t doubt that an experienced cheesemaker could whip out a batch in a half hour, but it takes me a lot longer than that – about an hour. I’ve made cheese twice now.
- Cheesemaking makes a total mess in your kitchen. You make lots of bowls dirty and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have cheese juice splashed everywhere.
- Your house will smell like warm milk. It’s not a spoiled smell, but definitely not yummy. Make sure you open the windows or turn on your vent if you have one.
Another kind-of con for this product is that you need raw or pasteurized milk. If you use ultra-pasteurized, it won’t wonk right. The problem? At the grocery store, milk that is marked as “pasteurized” is usually ultra-pasteurized, which means it has already been heated to a higher temp. And believe me, it does not work. My second attempt was with milk marked pasteurized from Walmart and it was a disaster. My first batch marked pasteurized from Food Lion came out great.
Your best bet is to get milk straight from a dairy, raw if possible. If not, you’re going to spend some money and time trying to figure out where you can get milk that works. They warn you about this in great detail in the booklet, but it’s still annoying.
I’ve made cheese twice now and once it was AMAZING and the second time it fell apart due to the milk being ultra-pasteurized. It is kind of a hassle and definitely not the easiest for me to do in my small kitchen. But the end product of my first batch was DELICIOUS. About a million times better than store-bought cheese. So I’m glad I got the kit, and it will be a fun project to do every few months.
Want to pick up a kit? They’re for sale on Amazon or the company’s website.
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