Well the month started with good intentions. We planned on making mozzarella and one of the optional cheeses, braided string cheese. We wanted to make braided string cheese – and we still will – as it is a traditional style of cheese for Armenians, and since my lovely wife is Armenian, it was a must. Plus if we do a good job it may provide “bonus points” with my mother in law, as she won’t have to bring it back from trips to Montréal ( I jest a bit as she has not done this for a few years as you can get it in Edmonton in a few places now).
For November, we ended up making the junket mozzarella, some chèvre and some crescenza, but no braided string cheese yet (my excuse is that I was not able to find ph test strips).
We chose the junket mozzarella, as it did not require the ph testing that the traditional required (although I did try and figure alternative testing ways, including using an aquarium test kit) and slightly less time which is a good thing when your assistant almost 7!
We had 8 nice strips, so we stretched two strips together to end up with 4 nice mozzarella balls. The first step in the process is to dip the curd strips into the heated whey to warm them up and make them pliable.
Once we had a nice ball, the curds were stretched into a rope folded over and molded back into a ball. This can be done a few times, but not overworked too much otherwise you will end up with a curd puck! After they were formed, the curd balls were chilled in ice water.
We ended up with a very nice tasting mozzarella. This particular recipe suggests eating soon, or storing for up to a week in brine. I would definitely agree with eating as soon as you can, as the surface becomes softer the longer in the brine and by day 5 we removed about 1/3 of the cheese to get to the firmer area. If I had a vacuum sealer I probably would have air dried the cheese after the initial brining, and then sealed.
We ate some raw, but also wanted to test it doing what mozzarella is so great at – melting! The initial test was simply on some pita bread heated under the broiler, simple but very tasty. A couple of nights later we made some chicken parmigiana, that was very tasty.
Appearance: Very nice white colour
Nose: No strong aroma
Overall taste: Very pleasant, tastes like mozzarella
Sweet to salty: slightly salty
Mild to robust: mild
Mouth feel: Good mouth feel, not rubbery at all
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