Tag Archives: cheese

Mozzarella Sticks

27 Oct

As my milking season winds down, I had a dear Facebook friend tag me in a video of how to make Mozzarella sticks.  It wasn’t detailed though, so I did a bit of research and came up with my version of Mozzarella sticks.

I decided to use Ritz crackers for my breading.  I used roasted vegetable for a bit more zing.

I smashed one foil to start with.  I figured if I made my recipe by the foil I could do as many or as few as I wanted.  I also thought it would help keep my crumbs fresh if I only made it one foil at a time.

After smashing the crackers, I added 1/4 teaspoon each of basil, garlic salt, and onion powder.  I also added 1 Tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

In another bowl, I mixed egg and milk.  Again, the ratio is 1 large egg to 1 Tablespoon of milk.  By the time I finished, I had used four eggs and four Tablespoons of milk.  Part way through, I emptied the bowl and started fresh.

Cut your Mozzarella into sticks.  You can also buy string cheese and cut them in half.  I am using a big block of my homemade cheese.

You start by rolling it in the egg and milk.

Then you roll it in the cracker mixture.

Then you repeat those those two steps.

The important thing is to make sure you don’t have any cheese showing or it will all glop out when it’s cooking.  After you have them covered, put them in the freezer for at least an hour.  You have to do this, or you’ll end up with a gloppy mess.

Then you simply deep fry them.  I did also see some recipes that said you could bake them at 400*F for 8 – 10 minutes, but some reviews said they were soggy.  I’m thinking deep frying is the way to go to make them nice and crispy.

I did decide to cook them all at once.  I have to say, they are amazing!  I used ranch for dipping, but they would be great with a marinara sauce as well.

Then I refrigerated them until I was ready to take them to a dining event that evening.  We threw them in the oven at 450* for about 10 minutes.  They even maintained their crispness!  In fact, it worked so well that I think I’m going to deep fry and freeze them ahead.

It even worked to microwave them to reheat and get them all melty.  That’s all there is to it!

Because it takes so much to get that big chunk of cheese to be really melted, I think the next time, I’ll make them more bite-sized poppers instead of real sticks.

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Hold the Press!

22 Sep

Breaking news!  I have a new toy!  With more milk in my future, I decided I wanted to branch out and try some new cheeses again.  But I’m kind of at the point I would need a cheese press.  As luck would have it, my dear blogging friend Patty from Broken Teepee (great book reviews and recipes) had a cheese press she was no longer using.  She sent it to me!

I decided I’d work into the pressed cheeses a bit and try making a queso blanco (or queso fresco).  That way I could use the press but it’s still a fresh cheese, so I don’t have to wait to try it out!  I started by rigging a double  boiler from a big pot and a bigger pot.

That worked well, so I added my vinegar.  It started curdling like it’s supposed to, but it didn’t get any whey separating.

I don’t know why.  After I did this, I remembered I failed at using vinegar as a coagulant when I first started making cheese.  I kept trying though, and it eventually ended up like cream of rice.

There’s no way anything this soupy is going into a cheese press, so I gave up.  We’ll see if I get brave and try again.  I did find a different recipe for queso blanco that calls for rennet.  That might work better.  I’ll let you know if the second time is a charm.

Micro Dairy

12 Sep

This year I’ve gotten more milk from my girls than I have had for quite some time.  As I continue to start milking girls with more dairy blood in them and their copper levels improve, I’m hoping their milk production continues to improve too (yeah, copper really does mess with everything like this).  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep milking longer into the winter as well.

Ava

Every time I post on Facebook about making cheese or people just learn I make cheese, they always ask if I’m selling it.  As I’ve gotten more consistent in my cheesmaking results, it’s started me thinking.  Maybe I should.

feta frozen for winter use

I contacted the Dept. of Agriculture and had them send me guidelines for being able to sell my cheese.  It took about two minutes of reading to realize I will never be licensed to sell my dairy products.

peach yogurt

To start, it costs $800 for a two-year license.  If you figure a generous average of $10 income (not profit) for each gallon of milk processed into cheese, that would be eighty batches of cheese just to pay for the license without subtracting for inputs to make the cheese.

1 gallon milk = 2 cups Mozzarella

Then there are phrases like “approved pasteurization system.”  It’s not further defined, but the cheapest one-gallon home pasteurizing machine I could find was just over $500.  The commercial ones start at $1100 and go into the tens of thousands.  Right now this is my pasteurizing system.  It works.

They also assume you will be building a brand new building for processing.  That adds probably another $50,000 (conservatively) to the cost.  Things like automatically closing doors are not cheap.

Dolly

The thing is, their idea of small is still so large you would have to make so much cheese that you’d not be able to have one person doing it.  It would have to be full time and with hired help.  That means more cost on top of the ridiclous amount spent on the new building and not being able to have an off-farm job.  It would require more goats to be milked.

Astra and Xerxes

If you want to take the product to a farmer’s market, there’s the requirements and licensing of the vehicle used for hauling dairy products too.  There is no feasible way to be able to sell your extra product without working full time forever to simply break even.  That means my family is probably going to be gifted with lots of cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of regulations.  I know there are things that I would have to change about my current system for me to even be comfortable with it.  Pasteurizing in of utmost importance, and I’d have to have my goats tested for communicable disease.

The nothing or full industry regulations just seems to be overkill.  The odd thing is that anyone can sell eggs direct to consumer with no regulations whatsoever.  Same with veggies or fruits they’ve grown.  These foods are more likely to give someone food poisoning than my safe pasteurized dairy products. [1]