I set out this weekend to make mozzarella, and well, I didn’t quite make it there! I’m not entirely sure where the whole process went wrong, but I certainly didn’t end up with mozzarella. Truth be told, I did ignore the part of the recipe saying not to try mozzarella as your first cheese, but mozzarella was the cheese I had some ideas on how I wanted to use (as opposed to the soft cheese, or basic hard cheese).
Some of the stages of making the mozzarella, the things I saw happening were similar to pictures I saw online of milk that had been pasteurized at too high of a temperature. But I also could have under or over acidified the milk or cheese, not let it sit long enough to form curds, any number of things. When it became clear that the cheese certainly was not going to turn into mozzarella I drained off as much of the whey as I could, and left the cheese in a strainer over a pot to drain overnight. I decided to try a gain with a little bit of the cheese to see if it would ‘spin’ like it should in a pot of 185 degree water, but no dice. What to do with the cheese… I tasted some, and in taste and texture it was somewhat close to cream cheese. I couldn’t think of anything to do with 2lbs4oz of cream cheese, except make cheesecake! I even had my new mini cheesecake pan to try. I decided to use my mom’s basic cheesecake recipe, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract. I also threw in some mini chocolate chips, and blended peanut butter into half of the batter for the the mini cheesecakes. I ended up adding a bit too much peanut butter, and the batter for those ones was quite thick (while the plain was thinner than I am used to). I smashed some chocolate wafer cookies and blended them with hazelnut flour and butter for the crusts.
Ok so now I’ve uses up the mozzarella-cream cheese… I still had a bunch of whey left, and whey is of course good for making ricotta! Now the ricotta recipe didn’t seem to go quite as described either, but I did end up with something very similar to ricotta after draining off all the whey and letting the cheese drain in a cloth covered strainer for a while. I generally use ricotta for ravioli, but I didn’t really have time to make pasta dough, and I hadn’t had manicotti in quite some time. I didn’t have quite enough ricotta to fill the manicotti noodles, and I was hoping for something with a bit more flavor… broccoli, walnuts, turkey, and pecorino foglie di noci to the rescue!