March 14, 2013

Fresh Mozzarella. Or Not.

Sawsan from chef in disguise was our March 2013 Daring Cooks hostess! Sawsan challenges us to make our own homemade cheeses! She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious!

Do you see any mozzarella in that photo up there? No? Look closer. Still no? That’s because there isn’t any. And that’s because I failed, utterly and completely, to make fresh mozzarella for this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge.

It’s ironic. The recipe I used was precise. Very precise. It gave me specific times for cooking and resting the ingredients. It provided exact temperatures to which to heat the ingredients before moving on to the next step. But what it didn't give — and what I guess I really needed — was a description of how the ingredients should have looked, smelled, tasted, and felt at each step along the way. 

I think the milk was also partly to blame. The recipe called for milk that was not ultra pasteurized. It was, in fact, written in bold. Not ultra pasteurized. But sure enough, I bought ultra pasteurized milk. Which, apparently, loses its ability to set into curds. Which is essential if you want the milk to turn into mozzarella.

In any case, I ended up with this.

It tasted like mozzarella. But in terms of texture, it was all ricotta. 

It was fine, crumbled on top of ravioli. 

But it wasn't mozzarella.

I started to get bummed. But then I reminded myself that this is why I joined the Daring Cooks. For the challenge. Not the sure thing.


  1. We sure can empathize with the mozzarella fail. Ours curded like nobody's business, but had the texture of a tire. Learning is good - and any excuse to eat ravioli is a great one!

  2. Yup. That looks almost exactly like my "mozzarella." I am bound and determined to try again - and to succeed one of these days... :)

  3. The milk really is the basis of it all and for my first attempt with pasteurised (not even UHT) milk I failed miserably as well. Then I found a dairy farm close by and got fresh milk to work with and it made all the difference. If the snow clears up, I might get more milk to try again, because nothing taste like a caprese salad with homemade mozza. :) But frankly, if we were all supposed to succeed at first try, it wouldn't be a challenge, would it? :-)

  4. I know what you are going through!
    I tried making mozarella this week with pasturized milk, the problem was that I bought a new brand of milk other than the one I usually use and the result was ricotta not mozarella.
    The problem is that companies sometimes heat the milk to ultrapasteurized temperatures or a little under that yet write pasteurized on the box. You try to make cheese with that and the result is an epic fail. Just don't give up and try again.
    Thank you for taking part in this challenge

  5. I'm sorry that it didn't work out for you. I hope you try it again!

  6. Well, at least you can give yourself credit for creating a unique ricotta mozzarella hybrid ;-) Like you say, the Daring Kitchen is all about the learning experience - I've had a fair few disasters myself over the years I've been participating - it just makes the successes feel like even bigger accomplishments when they come!


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