Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cheese and Milk Ramblings

So, I made some cheese for the first time. In fact I tried it twice. I was going for mozzarella, but both times the cheese would just not"glue" together, turning into the stringy, creamy, taffy-like mozzarella it's supposed to be. I followed two different recipes and both times I got ricotta; a very yummy ricotta, but still it wasn't mozz. I think it was the milk. I've read that dairies sometimes pasturize milk at the higher end temperatures which kills a lot of the proteins that make the cheese. I thought organic milk would be a good option, but it turns out that the big chain organic milk is ultra-pasturized which means it is pasturized extra long so that it can be shipped long distances without being refrigerated. In essence - it's shelf stable milk. No wonder it has that special taste...
The best milk to use for making cheese is raw milk which you can then, in turn, pasturize yourself at the lowest of the temperatures for pasturizing. Finding the raw milk is the hard part. It all boils down to bacteria. Because of Utah state laws, farmers who sell raw milk have to keep it hush-hush so they don't get in trouble. Does anyone else see the silliness in all this? If someone wants raw milk, why can't they be allowed to buy it from the farmer without anyone getting in trouble? People eat produce from the store that they don't wash. Think of the risk there, and yet there are no laws about that. (I guess they can't do everything for us, and that's a good thing.) Anyway, raw milk is not a dangerous chemical or addictive drug. Pasturization is good, I think, but if we don't want it pasturized, why can't we buy it the way we want? I'm sure there's more to this issue than I realize, but I just want to make cheese, darn it!
Man, where's that milk cow in my backyard when I need it?

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