Cheesemaking is more of an art than a science. If you don't create a picture perfect result the first time, don't worry -- it might still taste delicious! Below are some of the more frequently asked questions (FAQs) we've received. We've done our best to answer them simply.
If you do encounter an issue and you don't see your question below, please let us know.
"I see a few numbers on the packaging, is this an expiration date?"
The numbers you see on the packaging ("02010111 and 0810") are related to distribution and are NOT expiration dates.
"Do the contents of your kits expire? If so, when?"
The contents of our unopened kits are non-perishable, they do not expire and need no refrigeration. However, once opened, the rennet should be kept in the freezer to extend its shelf-life.
To make sure your final product is as fresh and delicious as possible, we DO NOT include the dairy ingredient. When you're ready to make the mozzarella, butter, or chèvre, just pick up some fresh milk, cream, or goat milk, and you're all set to go!
"Is the rennet in your Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit and Chèvre Cheesmaking Kit animal or vegetable?"
The rennet included in our kits is vegetable (microbial) and suitable for vegetarians.
"What do I do if I do not have a microwave oven?"
Heat the reserved whey to 175 degrees. Shape the curds into several small balls, rolling them between your hands. Put them, one at a time, into a ladle, and dip them in the hot whey for several seconds. Then gently fold the cheese over and over (as in kneading bread) with a spoon or your hand. This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese. If you're using your hands - PLEASE WEAR GLOVES. The cheese will not stretch until it is about 145 degrees inside the curd, in other words- TOO HOT TO TOUCH!
Repeat this process several times until the curd is smooth and pliable; when the cheese stretches like taffy, it’s done. If the curds break instead of stretch, they are too cool and need to be reheated.
"Why can't I use ultra-pasteurized milk?"
The high temperatures used to process ultra-pasteurized milk kill off the bacteria and cultures needed to make cheese.
"Why was I never able to form any curds?"
The milk you are using may be ultra-pasteurized; try switching brands. Today's dairies are not required by law to label their milk ultra-pasteurized. Or, you may be stirring your milk too long after adding the rennet.
"Why don't the curds separate from the whey once I add the rennet?"
This could be caused by one or any combination of the following....
1. The milk you're using is ultra-pasteurized, 2. The milk is not fresh, or 3. There may be trace amounts of chlorine in the water you're using.
For #1 / #2, try switching brand of milk.
For #3, try using a different source of water.
"A spoon doesn't leave a dent in my chèvre curds the way it does in my mozzarella curds. Did I do something wrong?"
Your chèvre curds should look different than your mozzarella curds -- they will be much smaller and finer. If a spoon doesn't leave a dent, you may want to wait a few more minutes to allow curds to form; however, don't give up! As long as you have some coagulation you will likely still be able to make the cheese. If your curds are too small for a slotted spoon, try using a strainer instead. (It may also work to pour both the curds and the whey directly into the cheesecloth-lined colander, but you will need to allow the curds to drain for a much longer time).
"My mozzarella never firmed up after I microwaved it?"
This is a common problem, it happens when the curds are being over-heated. It is important that you microwave first for one minute, then in 35-second increments. It may take a couple of tries, not all microwaves are the same. It may take a few times to really get the feel for the cheese-making process.
"Why does my mozzarella taste rubbery?"
This could be from over-handling or over-stirring your curds while they are cooking.
"How can I make my mozzarella creamier?"
You could be over-kneading the cheese. Try kneading just enough to create an even temperature. Also, try turning the heat off before it reaches 105 degrees.
"How can I make my chevre firmer?"
Allow the curds to drain in the mold longer (or overnight). The longer they drain, the firmer the cheese will be. Likewise, if you want a creamier, more spreadable cheese you can try reducing the time it drains up to one hour.
"Why won't my mozzarella stretch?"
Make sure the temperature is at 130 degrees F.
"How do I add the herbs and/or salt?"
Just sprinkle them on the cheese before the final stretch.
"Why doesn't my mozzarella taste like the kind I always buy at the supermarket?"
The cheese you are making is homemade. You're making the curds and then the cheese. It will have a slightly different taste (it could also be from the salt or brand of milk), but just because it tastes a little different, doesn't mean it's not great! Keep on experimenting!!
"Why doesn't my chevre taste like the kind I always buy at the supermarket?"
The cheese you are making is homemade and fresh. Some goat cheeses in the supermarket have undergone an aging process that makes their flavor much stronger and tangier. Your cheese may have a slightly different or milder taste (it could also be from the salt or brand of milk), but just because it tastes a little different, doesn't mean it's not great! Keep on experimenting!!
"Why can't I use my cast iron pot?"
The reaction of the acids used with the metallic salts in the pot, when absorbed into the curd, can give it an acidic or metallic taste!!
"What can I do if I lost my instructions booklet?"
Please contact us and we are happy to send you a PDF replacement of your instructions booklet.
"Is there anything I can do with all this leftover whey?"
Whey is a normal byproduct of the cheesemaking process, but it has plenty of uses if you do not want to throw it out. Some suggestions include:
- Substitute whey in any baking recipe that calls for water or milk -- bread, rolls, cornbread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits, etc.
- Add extra flavor by using whey instead of water to cook pastas, potatoes, oatmeal, beans, or rice.
- Add whey to soups and stews or make homemade soup stock with whey instead of water.
- Use as pet food -- add to dry dog or cat food. On farms, whey is typically fed to chickens and pigs.
- Add to shakes and smoothies for a protein boost.
- Make ricotta! If you do it right away, you can heat the leftover whey to 165 degrees F, remove from heat, and let it sit for 15 minutes. (If curds to do not form, add a tablespoon of vinegar, heat, and let sit again.) Drain curds with a cheesecloth, paper towel, or wire mesh strainer for 5-15 minutes. Add salt to taste.
"Where do you ship?"
We only ship in the USA.