The Home Creamery Review
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The best fresh mozzarella that I’ve ever tasted was in Sorrento, Italy. Unlike the American version, which is hard and rubbery, this was soft and flavorful, and it melted in my mouth. When I came back to the U. S., I sent myself on a mission to find a similar cheese. Whether I put down most of my cash at a gourmet market or simply ordered ensalada Caprese at a five-star restaurant, nothing came close. In fact, I even phoned a California cheese maker who admitted that our dairy laws prohibit producing a cheese similar in flavor and texture. Therefore, when I ran across The Home Creamery, I felt that I was given another chance. I would make it myself.

This book is divided into three sections. Part One: Cultured Diary Products, explains how to make yogurt, sour cream, and butter. Part Two: Soft Unripened Cheeses, is where I found two methods for making mozzarella. And Part Three: Recipes, shows what you can do with what you’ve made.

I didn’t have some of the necessary ingredients, such as rennet or citric acid powder, nor could I find them nearby, so I ordered them from a supplier mentioned in the book’s index. Even with shipping, the items were reasonably priced, so I didn’t mind. This gave me time to read the introduction and learn about the minimal equipment needed, as well as general guidelines and common ingredients. The instructions looked quite simple, as stated on the book’s cover. When the order arrived, I was ready.

When I completed my first batch of mozzarella, it somehow had the consistency of ricotta. I proceeded to the Troubleshooting section of the book, but I still couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I then tried the Microwave Mozzarella, and that was a worse disaster. Maybe I’d have to give up on mozzarella, but I was determined to produce an edible product. I made the cottage cheese, which was decent but nothing special. I then proceeded to homemade butter, which was quite tasty but not worth the effort.

The second half of the book, the recipe section, is really a complete cookbook in itself. The ideas are interesting—from baked goods to finger foods to main courses to desserts. However, now I’m just too exhausted to attempt them. I think, in a few weeks, I’ll try the Focaccia with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese, the Grilled Cheese with Figs, or the Mushroom Bisque with homemade crème fraîche, but I’ll use commercially prepared dairy products. Wait…doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

I think that learning to make homemade dairy products is best left to a structured, hands-on class. Even then, as with my cottage cheese and butter, I don’t feel that the effort was worth the marginal increase in texture and flavor. So unless you’re in need of another cookbook, I recommend skipping The Home Creamery.

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