The other day I mentioned that The Local Farmstand over in the Westside District offers raw milk from Carlton’s Farm. Historically, milk really isn’t something that I’m all about, but just recently I read an article about the benefits of raw milk, as well as some of the challenges of producing it.
Not all states can sell raw milk, not because in essence it is bad for you (in fact it’s quite good for ya), but because of the increase in likelihood that harmful bacteria will be introduced into the final product. After some quick research, I realize it’s too lengthy a topic for me to attempt to summarize here (see the 65 page statute summary here), but in short there are only 25 states that can sell raw milk, but even fewer of those states can sell raw milk in stores.
Well, those that know me from college know that I’m a risk taker, so I was quite excited to give it a try, particularly so I could try to make mozzarella with it. I’ve tried mozzarella before, and had fairly poor results. Both times the cheese kind of fell apart, creating a bland ricotta mixture of sorts. After many conversations with Rebecca from Foodie with Family, I really thought my milk might be the problem. Was my intuition right? Read on!
But first…a quick shot of the meats and cheeses all wrapped up purdy like from Star Provisions….sooo good.
Here is the milk. Not sure if you can read the label, but it states, “Warning: Not for human consumption. This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria”. Hrmmmm. I wasn’t aware, but it turns out the rules are funny in Georgia; you can’t sell raw milk marketed for human consumption. Kind of creepy.
Also I picked up an endive mix from The Local Farmstand, with my super salad fave, frisee.
I wasn’t using all of the milk for cheese, just about half of it. The rest will be for drankin’. I took the photo below so you could see the ridiculous viscosity of this stuff. It was quite thick/dense, sweet, and hearty. I couldn’t drink this all the time, but it was almost a rich treat. There could be a lot of uses for a milk of this consistency in cooking, and I imagine if you got used to drinking it, you could never got back to the store-bought stuff.
Warming up the milk, after I’ve added the citric acid, but right before the veal rennet gets mixed in there.
Once it hit about 105 degrees, it’s pulled of the heat and rests for 6-7 mins. If you compare this to my previous attempt, you can see how the curds pulled away much better.
Here’s what I pulled out of the whey, before I started working the cheese.
There’s 1/2 gallon of milk turned into a glorious un-worked mound of mozzarella.
At this point I can work it like dough.
I pulled chunks off and finally got the hang of the “stretching and pulling” that creates the shiny, smooth mozzarella surface. The first few I attempted didn’t come out as smooth looking as this, but it was just due to my inexperience and I’m hopeful for future attempts.
Finally, for some use… I put together a salad dressing with some olive oil my mom brought back from Italy a few months ago, and some local Georgia Wildflower honey.
This cheese making has been a challenge. Even though the process itself is simple, similar to making pizza dough I realize that little variations, as well as having an experienced “touch”, will greatly affect the outcome. But I look forward to making more progress and am happy to have dove into this endeavor – that’s how you learn!