As a cook (and human being) I am much more comfortable in the zone where I am critiquing past performance and looking for areas for improvement over standing on the precipice of something I have never tried. To that end, one of my favorite phrases is the French culinary phrase ‘mise en place”, which means “putting in place” and is a practice used in recipes that benefit from having all the ingredients measured and prepared before beginning.
For my first ever adventure into home cheese making, mise en place was required…and possibly wine…
Soft-cheese making is pretty straight forward (for the practiced) but with some specific temperatures serving as prompts to move to the next phase. Since this was my first go at it, that translated into me constantly monitoring temps so as not to pass or miss an important temperature window.
- The cheese was a little firmer than most of the purchased mozzarellas I am familiar with – did I over work the curd?
- The cheese was good, but a little on the salty side – I need to cut the salt in 1/2 for the next attempt.
- My mozzarella was a little more yellow than the milky white mozzarellas I buy – is that related to the milk I purchased, something I did…I need to spend some time on google…
My favorite recipes rarely began as they are today and I am happy to add cheese-making to the list that is being constantly improved and refined until it reaches the point of second nature.