I think that cheese is bloody brilliant and I eat an awful lot of it. On Saturday, my glamorous assistant Dan and I had a go at making some, using this kit from John Lewis which costs £20 and contains a few nonsense ingredients such as ‘Artisan’s Salt’. We made mozzarella and ricotta – our verdicts are below:
Difficulty stated on instructions: difficult (so obviously we tried this first, being professionals)
Making mozzarella required a fair amount of waiting around, a fair amount of confusion, and a fair amount of ‘it looks like chewing gum’ comments from Dan.
After adding calcium chloride to the milk and heating, we added citric acid, covered the pot and waited… and waited… We then cut up the curds and whey, strained through a cheese cloth, and had a slight disagreement about how to form the mozzarella into a ball.
The kit recommended that we watch a YouTube video before we began, which of course we didn’t, so we weren’t entirely sure about some of the instructions. If we’d watched the video then I think we might have understood what we were doing a little bit more.
My verdict: looked vaguely like mozzarella, tasted of very little, how the hell do you wash a cheese cloth?!
Dan’s verdict: varying levels of success (some pieces were better than others), yummier than the ricotta, next time realise that sitting it in the salty water is important.
Difficulty stated on instructions: easy
Ricotta was, as the kit suggested, much easier to make. We had to heat the milk to a much higher temperature (much more fun) before adding citric acid which made it curdle immediately. Instant results are gratifying if you’re as impatient as me!
We then had to wait for a while, which gave Dan the opportunity for far too many whey-based puns. After spooning the curds into the plastic tub and allowing to drain, we turned out the ricotta, and it looked like ricotta – success! (bay leaf added to cover up the big crack down the middle)
My verdict: looked like ricotta, tasted like ricotta, huge sense of satisfaction, brilliant!
Dan’s verdict: nice, smooth, less tasty than the mozzarella but it seemed almost foolproof.
So, varying verdicts from the critics.However, since my opinion is the only one that counts, ricotta is the winner! I’ll certainly be making it again.
As for the mozzarella, maybe I should have watched that video after all…