DIY

Well it’s Matt. My whole life I have been the type to try and figure things out for my self. I love trying to make things that many think is too hard. Well about 6-8 years ago I was watching a show on making cheese, and I thought – I can do that. So I searched the internet and found a kit to make cheese from home. It is actually pretty easy to make mozzarella cheese. Every now and then I break out the kit I bought 8 years ago and make a pound of cheese for pizza or cheese on tomatoes, or just for fun.

DIY - mozzarella cheese

DIY – mozzarella cheese

To make one pound of cheese you need one gallon of milk. We had two different milks that were both about half full that I added together. They were close to expiring and I had just bought new milk. So in the pot they went.

Here is how:

You need a cheese making kit. The one I have had I have made about 6 pounds of cheese and I haven’t even used 1/4 of the ingredients. It keeps well in the back of the fridge.

One cheese making kit - Rennet, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Mild Lipase Powder, Flaked salt

One cheese making kit – Rennet, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Mild Lipase Powder, Flaked salt

The one I used is from Leeners – $22.95
Leeners Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit
And there are many others to choose from as well. The kit makes a ton of cheese.. more then you could eat in a year probably.

Follow the instructions but basically you need:

  • pot large enough to hold a gallon of milk,
  • One Gallon of milk (whole milk is best – cheese needs high fat content)
  • One cheese making kit – Rennet, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Mild Lipase Powder, Flaked salt
  • large spoon with holes for draining
  • 5 small bowls to have everything pre-measured
  • a large microwave safe bowl
  • thick rubber gloves (I used 5 pair of latex gloves but the thick rubber kitchen gloves would work too, clean)
  • one cooking thermometer

 

Start by pouring 1 (one) gallon of milk into the pot. Whole milk is best cheese is better with higher fat content. I have even made it from raw milk at Sarah’s parents house, they are dairy farmers. Some risk involved with raw milk.

Slowly warm the milk on low to medium heat. Slower the better, scalded or burnt cheese probably doesn’t taste that good.

While the milk is warming start preparing the additives

In one small bowl add

1/2 tsp of Rennet with 1/4 cup of distilled (I use tap) water

Next bowl :

1 tsp calcium chloride liquid mix with 2 Tbs of distilled (or tap) water

Next Bowl:

Measure 2 tsp of citric acid powder

Next Bowl:

Measure 1/2 tsp of Flaked salt. To be added while stretching the cheese in the last process

Next Bowl :

Measure 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of mild lipase powder. Optional if you are vegetarian.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - Milk with Citric Acid, curd forming

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – Milk with Citric Acid, curd forming

Closely watch the temperature of the warming milk. Add the citric acid while it is warming. Stir the citric acid for 30 seconds.  You will begin to see the milk separate and form curds. Continue to  stir once every minute or so. Once it reaches 88 degrees F add the calcium chloride mixture and the lipase powder. Stir the mixtures slowly for 30 seconds. Let the mixture continue to warm to 105 degrees F.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - 105 degrees, Citric Acid, Rennet, Mild Lipase Powder

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – 105 degrees, Citric Acid, Rennet, Mild Lipase Powder

Once 105 degrees F has been reaches cover and turn off the heat. Let the whey and curd mixture sit at 105 F for 15 minutes to allow the curd to fully develop. The curd is the white clumps and the whey is the greenish clear liquid in the pot.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - Cover and let sit with heat off

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – Cover and let sit with heat off

After 15 minutes gently take out the curd with the slotted spoon. Put the curd into your microwave safe bowl. Try and remove as much curd from the whey as you can.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - After 15 minutes remove the curd, place into microwave safe bowl

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – After 15 minutes remove the curd, place into microwave safe bowl

Gently press the curd mixture with your gloves on. Pore the whey back into the pot. Press and pour this step until not much is being squeezed out.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - press out as much whey by hand

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – press out as much whey by hand

Now place the bowl with the curd mass into the microwave. Heat on High for ONE minute. Remove and press the mass to try and remove any more whey liquid as you can. Repeat this pressing and pouring till no more whey can be removed – about 30 seconds or so.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - Place in microwave, cook on high one minute

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – Place in microwave, cook on high one minute

Place back into the microwave for ONE minute again. Remove the cheese and press and pull the cheese similar to making taffy. Add the remaining flake salt while you are pulling and stretching the cheese. The more you pull the firmer and stringing it will become.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - Continue to squeeze the whey out, place in microwave again for one minute

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – Continue to squeeze the whey out, place in microwave again for one minute

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - Add the Flaked Salt and stretch and pull cheese

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – Add the Flaked Salt and stretch and pull cheese

This is where I stopped microwaving it, but for a more firm cheese repeat the microwave step again.

At this point the cheese is very hot and this is where thick gloves comes in handy. I wore 5 latex gloves on each hand and it was still VERY hot.  Stretch and pull the cheese just like taffy makers. The more you pull and stretch it the more stringing and firm it becomes. For a softer cheese only pull and stretch for a short time, maybe one or two pulls then form your cheese ball.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - Stretch and Pull the cheese and work the curd together

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – Stretch and Pull the cheese and work the curd together

Form the cheese the way you want, place in an air tight container. In the fridge it is good for about one week, and in the freezer for about a month.

DIY - Mozzarella cheese - Form a tight cheese ball with the flat of your palm and press your fingers upward on the bottom middle of the cheese mass.

DIY – Mozzarella cheese – Form a tight cheese ball with the flat of your palm and press your fingers upward on the bottom middle of the cheese mass.

If the cheese is too soft to grate, place in the freezer to firm the cheese for grating. ENJOY!

How do you like your cheese?

 

DIY - Mozzarella cheese, Tomato, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Basil

DIY – Mozzarella cheese, Tomato, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Basil

 

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Edible playdough recipe made with PEEPS, Fun DIY projects to do with kids, Preschool party treat ideas, popular kids recipes

How To Make Edible Playdough With Peeps ~ Fun DYI Kids Craft

Easter is over and I am ready to put the baskets away till next year, we have a few jelly beans left,  bits and pieces of a chocolate bunny and PEEPS.  They haven’t eaten them, yet they won’t let me toss them…. what is a Mom to do?  Well you can toss it all while the kids are at school, or you can do a fun DIY craft project with your kids instead, and make edible playdough.

To make these you will need:

  • 4 Peeps (or 4 large marshmallows)
  • 3/4 teaspoon water
  • 7-9 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • coconut oil or shortening

Edible playdough recipe made with PEEPS, Fun DIY projects to do with kids, Preschool party treat ideas, popular kids recipes, mutual night ideas

In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, add 4 peeps and 3/4 teaspoon water.  Place in the microwave for 30 seconds, they should have doubled in size. Stir till it looks like marshmallow cream,  if it is still lumpy put back in microwave for 10 seconds more at a time. But normally 30 seconds does the trick. You can now start mixing in the powered sugar, I mix it in 1 tablespoon at a time. Once it forms a soft ball take it out and kneed in the rest of the powdered sugar. But before you take it out coat your hands with coconut oil or shortening so it will not stick to your hands.  Dust your counter with powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to the counter.

The whole process only takes about 5 minutes. It will form a soft dough that is fun for kids to play with, and is totally edible too! It is full to roll out and cut shapes out with small cookie cutters. This recipe forms a ball of dough about the size of a lime, perfect for one child to play with.  You can double the recipe but will just need to adjusting the microwave time, but make sure you only cook it in short segments or you will scorch or burn them.

Edible playdough recipe made with PEEPS, Fun DIY projects to do with kids, Preschool party treat ideas, popular kids recipes

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Kids crafts, How to make a stress ball, perfect for tweens or teens summer camp arts and crafts ideas, boy or girl scout craft ideas, low cost craft projects for a family reunion

How To Make A Stress Ball ~ Kid Crafts perfect for boy scouts, summer camp or family reunions!

This is a low cost project that kids of all ages will love.  My daughter made these in her 5th grade class and thinks they are the coolest thing ever. I remember making a version of a balloon stress ball when I was a kid too, but this version is much improved from what I made 20 years ago lol.

Kids crafts, How to make a stress ball, perfect for tweens or teens summer camp arts and crafts ideas, boy or girl scout craft ideas, low cost craft projects for a family reunion

To make this project you will need:

  • 3 balloons
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup of flour
  • empty water bottle (with thin sides that you can squish)
  • funnel and pencil or chop stick
  • scissors
  • wet wash cloth

We bought our supplies at the local dollar store, but you can find balloons at almost any store!

Kids crafts, How to make a stress ball, perfect for tweens or teens summer camp arts and crafts ideas, boy or girl scout craft ideas, low cost craft projects for a family reunion

  1.  Start with putting about 1/3 off a cup into a water bottle with a funnel. Use a pencil or a chop stick  to poke the flour into to bottle.  How much flour you need will vary on how big your balloons are. You want to fill the balloon all the way up, but too much flour will make it hard and not enough will make it to squishy.
  2. Take one balloon and blow it up as big as you can, then let all the air out.  Then blow it up again about half way, and twist it closed (NOT TIED IN A KNOT) just twisted.
  3. Hold the twisted part of your balloon and put the opening of the balloon over the water bottle.  Hold it tight and allow the neck of the balloon to un-twist.  You can now start to squish the flour from the bottle into the balloon.
  4. Once all the flour is in the balloon, hold the neck of the balloon and slowly let out the air. SLOWLY if you do it to fast the flour will fly out as well, making a huge mess.
  5. Take a wet rag and wipe off any flour that make have gotten on the outside of the balloon. You need the balloons to make a seal, and if there is flour on the outside they will not seal together.
  6. Set the balloon on the table and cut the neck of the balloon off.
  7. Take a 2nd balloon and also cut the neck of that balloon off. Put your fingers inside the opening to make the hole larger and wrap it around the balloon you have with flour on it. Careful not  to spill the flour out.
  8. Once again wipe off any flour that may have gotten on the outside,  and do step 7 again with another balloon. For a total of 3 balloon on the outside.

Kids crafts, How to make a stress ball, perfect for tweens or teens summer camp arts and crafts ideas, boy or girl scout craft ideas, low cost craft projects for a family reunion

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April Fools Prank Ideas, Easy tricks for April Fools gag, Pan of Brown E's, silly pranks for kids

April Fools Day is almost here, are you ready to make someone smile with a silly prank. Last year my daughters kindergarten teacher brought in a special treat for April 1st. It was a pan of “BROWN E’s”, not to be confused with the normal brownies you bake in a pan. She thought it was hilarious and asked if we could make our very own “brown E’s” of of paper this year. This is a fast and easy, low cost prank that is fun for all ages.

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