This morning my 13 year old daughter made cheese for science. ) Gotta love the fun and flexibility of homeschooling!
She actually tried to make it yesterday afternoon, but I didn’t yet have citric acid, and I told her to use lemon juice instead. Generally the principle I follow is to make something the first time the way the recipe is written and only adapt after that. I should have stuck to that yesterday, because the cheese never curdled. LOL – it was a good way to learn that there’s a reason for each ingredient in cheese making.
But no harm done, because she used the same milk this morning for another try at mozzarella, and this time was immediately successful! All of the other kids were crowding around to watch her (it’s good the baby and toddler were napping or she’d never have been able to move), and I told the other kids that anyone else who wants to make cheese can have their own turn to make a batch, too. She even braided it – it looked really nice. We had fresh cheese for lunch immediately when she finished – there was no way kids were going to wait after watching and salivating over it.
Then she used the whey to make mysost, a Scandinavian whey cheese. This turned out well in all regards but one – it was much too salty. That was because she had added extra salt to the whey when she was dipping the mozzarella cheese in it, because she wanted it to have it be more flavorful than it was initially. And when the salted whey was boiled down to make the mysost, the saltiness became too intense.
But as I always tell my kids, making mistakes is part of learning, so now we’ve learned not to add more salt to the whey if we want to use it for something else afterwards. Even if we hadn’t wanted to make whey cheese, we would have kept it to use as an acidic medium for soaking oats (to break down the phytic acid), so I still wouldn’t want it to be salty.
By the way, the recipes we’re using are from a book called Home Cheese Making, by Ricki Carroll – there are 75 recipes of all sorts and we’re planning to just follow the recipes. We were able to borrow it from the library, so I suggest you check there before rushing to buy any books if you’re interested in learning about cheese making.