This past Sunday, I hosted a mozzarella cheese making party for twelve people I had never met. Crazy, no, inviting complete strangers to my house to make cheese? The idea was that of food52.com - a website that I often use as a resource for recipes and all things food related. To create community, the website suggests and encourages themed potlucks in cities/regions across the country. This particular one invited readers to make mozzarella, and was further encouraged by sending each potluck two bottles of beautiful California Olive Ranch olive oil to serve with the cheese.
Because I have a small kitchen, a few of us jumped on making the first batch of cheese. The others opted to begin with eating. It was a potluck after all! A beautiful spread covered my table, including salad, tamales, fried Brussels sprouts, panzanella, marinated vegetables, horseradish hummus, olive bread, and, of course, desserts - a blueberry pie and a chocolate cake with coconut filing and ganache. Oh my!
Food52 offered up a mozzarella recipe. I had made cheese once before, but I was guided through it. I wished I had paid better attention! In all, it was pretty simple: heating the milk (low-heat pasteurized cow’s milk), separating the curds from the whey, heating again and kneading and stretching. (OK, it wasn’t quite that simple, but it still wasn’t difficult.) We followed the recipe given to us and made a few adjustments along the way, the most efficient one being to heat the curds in the microwave rather than on the stove. It sounds lazy, but it was much easier and saved time, not that we were in a hurry.
Still warm, our little balls of mozzarella were fantastic! First, they looked amazing, then drizzled with olive oil, served with tomatoes, peaches and basil, they tasted wonderful. And it took so little time! The cheese was easy enough to make, that I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I have a gallon of goat’s milk remaining, so, after flipping through my cheese making book, I think I would like to try making feta. It’s a little more difficult and takes more time, but I’m up for the challenge.
And thanks to my potluck guests! I look forward to our next meal together.