Homemade Mozzarella

I was very excited to see that Love and Olive Oil’s June Kitchen Challenge is mozzarella.

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Mozzarella is something that’s always in the house so I knew giving this a try would be worth it. Looking at various recipes, I was a bit intimidated.  I had never heard of half of the ingredients, such as rennet.  So I bought a kit where everything I would need would be together.  I got it from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.  Buying the kit made me feel like a cheater, but it’s really no different from buying everything separately.

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Reading recipes, including the one that came in the kit, I found that the type of milk you need to use is very specific. It can’t be ultra pasteurized.  I just got a name brand rather than the grocery store brand.  It didn’t say ultra pasteurized so I hoped for the best.

I quickly got to a step that was not going right.  What I had going on the stove did not match the picture in the recipe book or on the website.

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I am supposed to be able to slice through the curd but it didn’t really solidify.  It stayed loose and chunky.  I think this is where using milk from the grocery store became a problem.  I didn’t stop though.  I figured I would just keep going and hopefully the cheese would turn out to be edible.

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I am glad I kept with it.  The cheese just came together towards the last step.  Talk about excited!

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Once I stretched it out and put it in an ice bath to hold its shape, it was ready to go!

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I am so glad I didn’t give up on making the cheese when I realized something wasn’t exactly right early on.  I will definitely try this again with milk from a local dairy farm.  I think that will help with the curd.

Matt and I first enjoyed the mozzarella by making made paninis with it along with bacon and tomato on ciabatta bread.  Delicious!  Sadly I don’t have a picture because the bread burnt just a tad and that is just embarrassing.

I am so glad I took part in this month’s kitchen challenge.  I love making food homemade rather than buying it at the grocery store.  It always is so much easier than you think (usually!).  I’ve also made my own pumpkin puree, mozzarella sticks, ranch dressing, marshmallows, ginger alecaramel sauce, and pita bread.  Also, I recently got the book Classic Snacks Made From Scratch.  I can’t wait to jump in and try the various recipes in it.

If you want to try and make your own cheese, check out the New England Cheese Making Company website.  They have tons of recipes with photos and they are broken down by level of difficulty.

I can’t wait to see what July’s challenge is!

Homemade Ginger Ale

I am all about challenges in the kitchen.  But those challenges are usually related to baking, not soda making.  But a challenge is a challenge and I am excited to follow along with Love and Olive Oil‘s Monthly Kitchen Challenges.  Last month, I made macarons.  (Sorry for all the “challenges”!)

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May’s Monthly Kitchen Challenge is ginger ale.  My liking of ginger ale is more recent, within the last couple of years.  Growing up, if I drank it when I wasn’t sick, it reminded me of being sick.  Who wants that?  I don’t know what is different, but I’m good with it now.

I chose to use a recipe by Food Network’s Alton Brown.  Compared to some others, it is less involved with simple ingredients.  That’s what I was looking for.

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Making this ginger ale was extremely easy and quick.  Except grating the ginger.  Pretty messy.

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Who needs a fancy soda making machine???  Not this girl.  The bottle had to sit untouched for 48 hours.  I had the urge to shake it for some reason, but I was able to resist.

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Two days later and my result is a nice tall glass of ginger ale.  To me the smell of ginger in the soda is much stronger than the taste, if that makes sense.  Matt says it tastes more like ginger beer.  It definitely does not taste like the ginger ale you find in a grocery store.  I wonder what other flavors of soda I can make without a machine.  If you want to try, this is a nice easy way to start!

It’s a Challenge

I started this blog to share my baking (and sometimes cooking) experiences.  But more than that, I want to challenge myself with recipes I would normally avoid and tell you about it, whether it is good or bad.  Being a part of Sundays with Joy has really helped me to challenge myself. For just over a year now, I have been baking my way through Joy the Baker’s cookbook and it has been so much fun! It really has forced me to try things in the kitchen I wouldn’t even consider doing before.

The latest Sunday’s with Joy recipe was coffee bacon. Really? Coffee on bacon? This scared me, but I did it.
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It didn’t turn out so well. I’m almost embarrassed to show you the picture.  You are supposed to bake the bacon but the grease started to spread and my house started to get smoky and there was a lot of sizzling. And the bacon didn’t finish cooking. But hey, I tried!  Other Sundays with Joy members are raving about this recipe so I know it was just me having my own difficulties with the recipe.  You can check out Joy’s recipe here right on her blog to see how it’s made.  Maybe you will have better luck than me :).

The blog Love & Olive Oil began doing a Monthly Kitchen Challenge. I was so excited to see this because it’s another great way for me to try new things in the kitchen. I missed the first challenge, croissants, but jumped at the opportunity to take part in April’s challenge, macarons. I have heard and read that they are very involved and difficult to make so I was a bit intimidated. Luckily, I found a recipe in the cookbook SprinkleBakes (another amazing blog) that didn’t look too difficult.
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Success! I wouldn’t say they came out perfect, but for my first shot at it, I was very happy with the results.  I think if I took them out maybe a minute or two sooner, they would have looked a bit better. For the filling, I wanted to do something quick so I used Biscoff.  So good!

May’s Kitchen Challenge is ginger ale. It’s not exactly baking, but it is something new and challenging. I can’t wait to give it a try and share how it comes out!