Dear Dairy Diary,


All photos by Ray Hydrick. All cursing at milk by Matthew Warren.

Does that picture above show that face of a happy man?  No.  The love I have for milk has been tainted.  It’s true.  What use to be a companion to my Oreo’s or a slice of chocolate cake has become a gallon of hatred. How did this happy-go-lucky friendship go sour (pun intended)?  Well, let me tell you.  Four weeks ago I was racking my brain to come up with a Kitchen Mischief post that would rock my world.  And rock my world it did.

I decided after many mimosas that it would a great idea to make homemade mozzarella.  Yes, it does sound impossible but from what I saw on the internet it is rather easy…or so I thought.  Here are the two sites I referred to – and  Both individuals in the pictures and videos were very excited and pleased with their handmade creations, which sent me into cheese-making overdrive.

Both recipes said I basically needed the following ingredients:
* 1 gallon whole milk, NOT ultra-pastorized
* Citric acid (think lemon juice but in powder form)
* Rennet (renett can be derived from the forth stomach of a cow or rendered from veggies, let’s hope we chose the later)
* Water
* Salt

I found all of the above in Whole Foods.  I decided to go all out and buy a gallon of organic milk from my favorite dairy in Alabama – Working Cows Dairy – for $7.99. Good milk = good cheese, right? Whole foods only had the pill form of rennet (cow stomach rennet) called Junket, and only later would I find out that this stuff is a bunch of junk-et.  Whole Foods also had citric acid in crystalized form.  If you taste it, it taste like what you would find on the outside of a Sour Patch Kid candy.  It is used to curdle the milk.

Here are the steps in a simplified fashion.  If you want the full detail, click on the sites above…I don’t want to see those people’s stupid-happy faces again.

  1. Pour gallon of milk in large, stainless steel stock pot and place over medium-low heat
  2. When milk reaches 55° add 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of citric acid and stir to combine
  3. Gradually stir until milk reaches 88°
  4. Add 1/2 tablet of rennet dissolved in a 1/4 cup of water
  5. Very slowly stir until milk reaches 105°
  6. Remove from heat and let sit 20 minutes
  7. Remove separated curd from liquid whey (greenish liquid – Barf!)
  8. Place curd in bowl and microwave 1 minute on high
  9. Stir and remove excess whey, place in microwave for additional minute
  10. Stir in salt and microwave one more minute
  11. Knead like bread and form into a ball
  12. Enjoy!

So Diary, let’s take a quick pictorial journey of my milky hell.
Step 1

Milk from my favorite dairy

Step 2

Added the citric acid and now waiting on 88°

 Step 4

Adding cow stomach powder (rennet)

After rennet, the milk solids combine and leave the whey behind

 Step 6


Waiting on the magic to happen

What I did during the 20 min wait

Step 7

Removing the milk solids

Stop, Stop, Stop – I couldn’t finish the rest.  It didn’t turn out right.  It should NOT look like this!

This is ricotta not mozzarella

So how do I correct this hot mess of cheese curd?  Better thermometer?

Hello NASA thermometer

Different Milk?

Please Publix milk, be my milky savior!

Liquid vegetable rennet instead of pill-form cow stomach rennet?

1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet

Wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’?

For the love of all that’s good and holy!

Four gallons of milk later, this is what I got.

The same damn thing!

So what did I learn?  I learned that I hate making cheese  like I hate making bread.  I am not a Curd Nerd like the guys from Wright Dairy.  And, that Little Miss Muffet can kiss my curds and whey!  I am done with this dairy disaster! 😦

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13 Responses to “Dear Dairy Diary,”

  1. Janice Christian Says:

    Ya’ll are nuts, but i still love ya! 🙂 Jan

  2. Anonymous Says:

    That’s what mine looked like too! Once you microwave that hot mess, the curds start to stick together. If it doesn’t stick, keep microwaving for another minute at a time and knead or stir in between. It eventually turns into mozzarella – for reals!

  3. Judy Cloe Says:

    After reading ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE by Barbara Kingsolver, I got the same bright idea to make cheese. Three of us got together and made 2 patches at the same time. Ours looked the same but we did what anonymous suggested and kept microwaving until it stuck together. We ended up with 2 small hunks of mozzarella, one made with salt and one not. Then we made pizza and used the cheese. It definitely was not worth the effort and we will never make it again. The one made with salt tasted like cheese, the other one had no taste.

  4. Judy Cloe Says:

    I mean, we will make pizza again, just not make the cheese.

  5. Josh Says:

    My heart goes out to you…that looks like some frustrating mischief!

  6. David Says:

    This is hysterical!! I think I will leave my cheese to the professionals, when Josh allows me to actually consume it.

  7. Judy Cloe Says:

    Oh, one more thing. I think the use of organic milk might have been an issue. It is heated to a very high temp in the processing. If I remember correctly, (it has been about 3 years) my instructions said not to use it.

  8. rhbulldawg Says:

    We now have stock in Laughing Cow Dairy…

  9. rhbulldawg Says:

    actually, Working Cows Dairy, although, those cows may be laughing at this Kitchen Mischief post…

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