A Thrifty Dad

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

 

 how to make your own butterHow to make your own butter

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How to cook BBQ Chicken Pizza

Don’t pay the super high prices for a specialty pizza like BBQ Chicken Pizza! This is one of our favorite’s, and it’s so easy. All for just a few bucks. Here is the recipe for my –  Matt’s BBQ Chicken Pizza – mmmm!

Recipe - How to make BBQ Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Mozzarella cheese (read here how to make mozzarella cheese your self)
  • Chicken breast – plain is fine, or lightly seasoned (great as left overs)
  • Red Onion – depending on size of pizza and desire
  • Green onions – mainly for color
  • BBQ sauce – your favorite works best
  • One pound dough – we buy a pre-made dough from WinCo, it’s right next to the mozzarella blocks
  • 1/2 cup corn meal – we use this instead of flour because it gives a good flavor to the dough and many pizza places use it

BBQ chicken pizza recipe

Directions:

Place a “cooking stone” or cast iron cooking plate, or a large flat non-stick oven safe pan/plate in the oven. Pre heat oven to “as hot as you can get the oven with out turning on the broiler. Yes, as hot as you can get it. Why? Every pizza joint cooks their pizzas quick. Traditional pizza ovens are well over 500-700 degrees! That’s how they cook it so fast! Try it – it works!

Depending on your crust thickness preference, we like ours “hand tossed” or “original”, cut the one pound pizza dough in half, gently place one ball of dough to the side. With the first dough ball, gently roll the ball round, then hold the edge of the ball and allow gravity to help pull the dough ball larger. If you know how to spin the dough in the air, or want to “try” now is your chance. The kids think it is so fun! If you start to feel the dough fight you, and not stretch, lay the dough down on a light sanding of corn meal. Dough and the gluten molecules need time to relax.  While it relaxes prepare the toppings.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Cut red onion and green onions into cubes. Grate mozzarella cheese depending on preference. For a one pound dough ball it takes about one pound of cheese – as a reference.

Continue spinning, rolling the dough to desire thickness. Don’t worry about roundness, fancy places have irregular shapes too…

BBQ chicken pizza sauceModerately dust a thin metal or wood sheet or cutting board with corn meal. Place dough on it. Place BBQ sauce in middle and spread with the back of a spoon to thickness. With BBQ sauce you will probably like a thin layer, less then normal pizza sauce. So it doesn’t over power the chicken. Gently sprinkle half of the cheese onto sauce. Doing this helps keep toppings locked onto pizza and you will have less fall off. Then evenly spread chicken, red and green onions, and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese to the edge of the dry dough out side of the sauce area. Remember one pound of dough you will use one pound of cheese. The dough balls I used, originally were one pound, and we have already split them in half. So half pound of dough equals half pound of cheese.

How to make BBQ chicken pizza recipe

Open the pre-heated oven, at least over 450 degrees, carefully slide the rack holding the hot plate or stone further out. With a spatula, carefully slide the pizza off onto the  hot stone or plate. Carefully slide the rack back in. Close door, and do not go that far away.

You heat the stone first because the incredibly hot stone cooks the dough, while the hot oven air simply melts the cheese.

Carefully watch the pizza cook. It only takes about 4-8 mins depending on how hot you were able to get the oven. Once the cheese melts, the delicious lightly browning of the cheese will change in the blink of an eye!

Carefully pull out the pizza when you see it start to brown on the outside edge of the cheese. use a spatula to slide the pizza from the stone or plate onto the original metal or wood board you used to make the pizza. If you leave on the hot stone it will continue to cook even outside of the oven!

Allow the pizza to cool for a min or two, so that when you cut it the cheese will not melt right back together. Enjoy!

BBQ pizza recipe

 

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How to make Butter – Homemade Butter in a Jar

How to make butter

It’s Matt. I made Butter in a Jar back when I was a kid at a youth activity. Making butter at home was very easy and just took some time. So the other day at the store I grabbed some Heavy Whipping Cream and planned a night with the kids to make show them how to make homemade butter. It is really easy and will provide some tasty and easily homemade butter!

How to make butter

home made butter in jar

Ingredients:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream – any amount 6 cups makes about 1 pound of butter
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon per pound of butter- optional, used for preserving butter
  • Jar – with lid, any size, baby food jars are great for kids to make it with

home made butter heavy whipping creamDirections:

Pour Heavy Whipping Cream into jars no more then 3/4 the way full. It is best to leave room for the shaking and turning action. Next begin shaking! And Shake and Shake. Some music to shake too makes it fun for the kids and helps pass time. Something with a fun and quick beat. The best way I figured to shake the jar was to hold it length wise in my hands with the lid in my palms and the base of the jar wedge in my forearms.

It takes about 5 minutes before you notice a thickening forming in the jar. This heaviness is the beginning of the fat changing and sticking together. At this point you really just have a thick whip cream in the jar. Keep shaking. At this point the jar edges will look like:
home made butter foam

 

As another 5-10 minutes pass you will notice the jar filling with the foamy cream.  It feels as if there is no room in the jar as the thick Heavy Cream is aerated even more with the shaking, but keep shaking. It will look like this:

 

home made butter cream

Keep shaking and don’t stop you are almost done when it gets thick. I have heard some add a large marble to the thick foam. But I don’t think it really matters. Just the pressure of the shaking will continue the fat to congeal together. Don’t worry if you don’t think the foam is “churning” or rotating in the jar, gravity and pressure is still working to form the butter.
Before you know it you will see the foam separate and a thin liquid forms in the jar. That thin liquid is buttermilk! The butter is in the last few moments of shaking. Keep shaking until the butter or mass inside is a consistent size.
home made butter buttermilk
At this point you can separate the buttermilk out and save it for biscuits or pancakes and other fun recipes. Then you can add the 1/2 teaspoon salt which is optional. Some say the taste is different, but the main reason is to preserve the butter. Now with the remaining butter you can place it in a small container for refrigeration and easy of using it. So congrats you just made you own butter!  Enjoy your work!
home made butter bowl
As the butter sets you may see drips of buttermilk on the butter. Just let it drip off and drain.
home made butter
DIY - Homemade butter in a jar
 
Recipe type: Condiments
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • Heavy Whipping Cream - any amount 6 cups makes about 1 pound of butter
  • Salt - ½ teaspoon per pound of butter- optional, used for preserving butter
  • Jar - with lid, any size, baby food jars are great for kids to make it with
  • home made butter heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Pour Heavy Whipping Cream into jars no more then ¾ the way full. It is best to leave room for the shaking and turning action. Next begin shaking! And Shake and Shake. Some music to shake too makes it fun for the kids and helps pass time. Something with a fun and quick beat. The best way I figured to shake the jar was to hold it length wise in my hands with the lid in my palms and the base of the jar wedge in my forearms.
  2. It takes about 5 minutes before you notice a thickening forming in the jar. This heaviness is the beginning of the fat changing and sticking together. At this point you really just have a thick whip cream in the jar. Keep shaking. At this point the jar edges will look like:
  3. home made butter foam
  4. As another 5-10 minutes pass you will notice the jar filling with the foamy cream. It feels as if there is no room in the jar as the thick Heavy Cream is aerated even more with the shaking, but keep shaking.
  5. Keep shaking and don't stop you are almost done when it gets thick. I have heard some add a large marble to the thick foam. But I don't think it really matters. Just the pressure of the shaking will continue the fat to congeal together. Don't worry if you don't think the foam is "churning" or rotating in the jar, gravity and pressure is still working to form the butter.
  6. Before you know it you will see the foam separate and a thin liquid forms in the jar. That thin liquid is buttermilk! The butter is in the last few moments of shaking. Keep shaking until the butter or mass inside is a consistent size.
  7. home made butter buttermilk
  8. At this point you can separate the buttermilk out and save it for biscuits or pancakes and other fun recipes. Then you can add the ½ teaspoon salt which is optional. Some say the taste is different, but the main reason is to preserve the butter. Now with the remaining butter you can place it in a small container for refrigeration and easy of using it. So congrats you just made you own butter! Enjoy your work!
  9. home made butter bowl
  10. As the butter sets you may see drips of buttermilk on the butter. Just let it drip off and drain.

If you enjoyed making your own butter, then you will enjoy making your own cheese!

DIY Make your own Cheese

 

 

IDEAS ON USING & PRESERVING APPLES

 

 

 

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