How the Cheese Gets Made

April 11, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Making cheese from scratch is not something I ever pictured myself doing. (I blame my anti-dairy-making stance on those grumpy-looking pioneer women churning butter at the living history museum. Guess that grade-school field trip really stayed with me.) But I totally made some this weekend. And it was super easy. And I didn’t even have to dress up in period garb.

The reason I was inspired to give it a shot? Agrarian—a Williams-Sonoma spinoff that focuses on products that help you grow and make your own food—launched just last week and gave me this nifty DIY Cheese Kit. It contains everything you need to whip up 10 batches of ricotta or mozzarella. This time I opted for ricotta, because I wanted to make crostini topped with ricotta, honey, and black pepper for an Easter brunch party. I have to admit, this “recipe” is my take on the crostini at Anfora, one of my favorite wine bars here in the city. It’s delicious.

So, what exactly is involved, you ask? It’s basically a 3-step process.

1. Dissolve a bit of citric acid in water.

2. Heat whole milk in a pot with the citric acid solution and cheese salt. (Don’t walk away from the stove during this part—you need to make sure the mixture doesn’t boil over.)

3. Once curds form, strain through cheesecloth.

And, you’re done! The whole thing took less than an hour, the cheese turned out yummy, and my friends think I’m more domestically skilled than I really am. Score!