Monday, May 28, 2012

Say Cheese! (a book review)

First off I noticed that Blogger is going to force us all to use the new interface. I hate change. Guess you could say I would be one of the species on this earth that would disappear because I refuse to change to meet the new environment but Blogger is a pain and just when you get it set up they change it. ARRRRGGGGG!

Second I am on a roll in the garden so my post are going to be even fewer and farther between. Between that and changing my blogger I could disappear completely. However since I have to change the interface I may take the opportunity to change the look of the whole blog. That said here is my new post.

I have been making mozzarella cheese for about a year now and decided it was time to branch out so I bought this book featured at Mother Earth News. I was so excited! It had 3 recipes for mozzarella which I thought would be a good place to start because the recipe that I had been making didn't really taste the way I thought it should and was not as soft as the store bought variety. I found a cheese supply store and bought some supplies and started in. I made the first mozzarella. It was just ok and very similar to what I had already done which works great on pizza but I wanted the kind you can layer with tomatoes and basil leaves so on to the next. Same results. More work. The third recipe took me about 4 hours, was difficult to follow and turned out worse than the first two. At that point I just put the book away and gave up for awhile.

Now because I use to raise Kinder goats I have always been on Hoegger Supply's email and blog list. Just so happens they sent me a link to a couple videos that I watched on making cheese. They are trying to sell a cheese making book by Mary Jane Toth and because I already had a cheese book I resisted thinking one book  is as good as another and Mother Earth had recommended the one I have. Well to make a long story short I watched the video on making sour cream. I am now a convert. This granny looking lady doesn't mess around with fancy equipment and starters. She just does it. The sour cream couldn't have been any easier so I am going to get the book. Her recipe was 3 Tablespoons of cultured buttermilk in a pint jar of cream or half and half, put a lid on it and shake. Set on the kitchen counter for 24 hours. VOILA! The best sour cream ever!
I immediately ran out and got some strawberries and then made baked potatoes for dinner. Yummm!

 I compared this to the recipe in my book. The recipe wanted you to go buy a direct set sour cream starter, heat the cream to 86 degrees, add the starter, and let set undisturbed for 12 hours.  Now I have two gripes with this. First I have to go buy the starter ($$$) heat the cream (work, time, and dish washing) and the recipe doesn't even say whether you should stir the starter in or let it float. My biggest gripe is while making the cheese I found the directions to be unclear. So if you are looking for a book on making dairy products try A Cheese Makers Journey first, or better yet try the videos. They are free and there are quite a few of them. Here is another link with some recipes. Looks like it is older and it is from Countryside magazine.

So here are some pics from making that cheese recipe from Home Cheese Making.

Looks good doesn't it? My oldest daughter ate some of this and politely told me it was yummy but it wasn't.
If anyone has experience with this book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, give me a shout. I would like to know your opinion.

1 comment:

Izzy said...

I've never tried making cheese. It's been on my radar, along with a bunch of other things. Good luck..