Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sawdust and Ashes

I was debating whether I should call this post, "The Trip Was Worth It," or, "Sawdust and Ashes."  You can see which one won - this title is so much more mysterious and ... dramatic.  I'll get to why.  Later.

So I made the lengthy trek to the biodynamic farm store and bought 2 gallons of raw milk.  Then I made mozzarella cheese with 1 gallon of it.  Everything was different with raw milk.  The curds set up differently.  Not harder, but cleaner.  More custard-y.

Stirring the curds was different.  After a minute or so, they started to congeal around the spoon like this.

It made a nice, shiny ball that I didn't see either of the two previous times I tried.

Even the whey looked different.  It's hard to tell, but the whey on  the left is clearer. Today's whey is on the right.  I got 12.8 ounces of cheese, and the whey almost fills up the containers the milk came out of.

The cheese looks different. Today's cheese is on the left.  More translucent, creamier, smoother.  The cheese from whenever it was I did it last, is harder, more fall-apart-y.  It still got flat though!  What's the secret to nice, round mozzarella balls???

I bought some mighty fine looking tomatoes so I could make Caprese salad (a slice of tomato, a slice of cheese, some olive oil, and some basil).  The tomato looked wonderful, but it tasted like... sawdust and ashes.

The cheese, it was very, very good.

I cannot wait.  Stress that.  Cannot wait until I can make a Caprese salad with a tomato so fresh that it's still warm from the sun, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil leaves, just picked.  Mmmm.  Yum.


  1. Looks like a fun experiment! How different was the taste of the cheese with the raw milk vs. Stewart's?

    And ... if I knew your plans, I could have saved you the $$ for tomatoes in NY in January. Ick.

    I'm going to try that salad this summer! thanks!

  2. The taste wasn't all that different. They're both mozzarella after all. But the fresh milk was so much better in general. I got it at Hawthorn Valley Farm.

  3. Jordan, not trying to be fussy, but curious for a reason. Was it fresh or raw milk or both?

    In Vermont, the state set up new regulations for raw milk -- instead of doing what most states do and make it all illegal. I learned about it in a great newspaper article, and I contacted the farmer featured in the story, and she put me in touch with a dairy farmer near my VT place. And that farmer has a PhD in microbiology, or something like that. Her day job is lab work.

    I don't know what's up in NY. My NY paper isn't covering any raw milk issues. My hunch is you got fresh milk -- not raw.

    I'm just trying to understand it!

  4. Sorry, I guess I don't know the distinction between fresh and raw. The label said Raw in big letters, so I know it's that. The place is a farm, so I think it's their own cows I bought the milk from. I don't know what the definition of fresh is, if it has a specific meaning. Neat to get info straight from the peeps who know!

  5. Jordan-
    Glad this worked out for you...and my prediction is the more you do it, the easier and better it will be...
    And you are right about the is just for color that I am tempted right now. Your own will taste so much better...well, they'll taste like tomatoes!
    I was raised on milk from a local farmer. My dad was friends with him and every Sunday night we'd go to my grandpa's house and while we were there, my dad would head to the next farm on the road and bring home 2 gallons of milk from the tank. I'd like to think I turned out alright!

  6. If a dairy farmer sells you milk saying RAW in big letters, then it is raw.

    I never hear about it in NY. Maybe it's a non-issue.

    FYI, I grew up on milk from a NY dairy, but the dairy processed it on site.

  7. I used this list Good Milk is Available on the website. Also found out about Stewarts from this list.

  8. Karen Sue and Kate - in Holland they drink a TON of milk, and the Dutch are all very tall and very good looking. I think it's the milk!

  9. By the way, I only hear raw milk being an issue for people with very compromised health problems or other unique sensibilities.

    I'm not posting about safety issues, but only because I am simply curious about two neighboring states. VT's regulations are brand new, and the newspaper article featured the first dairy farmer to pass the new raw milk regs.

    I don't give a hoot about regs, but it got my attention.

  10. I don't know much about cheese, except were to get it at the grocery store. (One day I hope to make my own), but I wanted to say keep it up! At least you can eat it, and it taste like cheese. It took me 23 batches of soap before I could even call my end produced soap. Haha, good luck, it’s looking good!

  11. Jordan -
    I just read about someone looking at classes in the continuing education flyer they got and "Making Mozzerella Cheese" was one of the classes.
    Funny you should mention the Dutch. As you probably know, most of NY and around was property bought and sold by the Holland Land Company. Our town is full of Van's, Vander's and we were told at a young age that if your name ended in 'ink', 'dink', or 'stink' you were Dutch. I married an 'ink'. And that stubborn Dutch streak lasts for many generations!!

  12. Christine - Sorry to say, but I get comfort from your having to do 23 batches to get good soap. Talk about alchemy - we've got instructions, but we still have to try over and over to get it right!

    Karen Sue - it seems to be getting pretty popular, making cheese.

  13. I haven't had time to read the post yet, but I gotta say . . . I am SO jealous of your mozz!!! Have I mentioned that I KILL for fresh mozz? (Good thing we don't live closer!) ;)