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I've seen people do their own mozzarella and it seemed easy. Any tips on how to get started (equipment, ingredients, recipes)? What about blue cheese and other stronger cheeses?

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Making Mozzarella is not fantastically difficult, but certain things during the process are critical, probably the most important is temperature.

If it's your first time making cheese, you might find the buying a 'starter kit' the easiest way to get up and running. These will provide you with all the important items you needm such as rennet. If you feel brave, then you forego the kit and dive right in.

For Mozzarella try to find Buffalo milk, which is what 'proper' Mozzarella is made from. It's lower in cholesterol than cows milk, has more protein and makes a much richer cheese. If you can't get Buffalo milk use the best full fat, non-homogenized milk you can find.

Here's a recipe I've used before MOZZARELLA

Here's a link with the differences between Buffalo milk and cows milk

Cow Milk vs Buffalo Milk

Whilst it's quite possible to make virtually any variety of cheese at home, some cheeses, such as blue cheese, require a place to develop at the correct temperature and for quite long periods of time. ideally, this would be a temperature around 10c with a humidity around 70% and a time for maturing at around 2 to 3 months.

Here's a good place to start:

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/blue_cheese/blue_cheese.htm

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Ricotta would be a good first cheese to make. It is a fresh cheese so doesn't need any aging, you can make a batch in all of about 30 minutes with very simple ingredients and the taste difference with store bought is spectacular.

There is a question that has several answers with ricotta cheese recipes (including one I've used) http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/405/making-or-substitute-for-ricotta-cheese

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I've actually had success making a soft cheese using kefir fungus to turn the milk instead of rennet; this has the advantage that you don't need to keep buying more.

After you've fed the fungus, keep the produced kefir in the 'fridge for a night. Dilute with fresh milk, no more than 4:1 milk:kefir, and keep the mixture at room temperature for another night. Heat to ~30 degrees, and keep at that temperature, stirring occasionally, until it turns - could take as long as half an hour or so to start, but once it goes it goes pretty quickly. Drain through sterile cheesecloth or muslin to separate the curds, then proceed as usual.

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Doing mozzarella at home is quite difficult.

The hard part is doing the curd (coagulation of milk with rennet or an edible acidic substance). This is a common requirement for doing almost any kind of cheese, and although it may seem not so difficult, it is actually very hard to do a satisfactory curd. This is the reason why the most easy cheese to do at home (ricotta) is actually not a cheese!

You can however try to buy from a dairy some curd to "practice" at home.

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I disagree with this answer. I have never had any problem at all forming a nice curd for any cheese. Acid set mozzarella is actually one of the easiest because there is no bacterial inoculation. It just works. The hard part with mozzarella is kneading the cheese to the correct texture. –  Sobachatina Aug 26 '10 at 0:04
    
@Sobachatina: I'm happy for you not having any problem, but this does not mean that it is a simple task for a newbie. Then, it is not enough to just make curd, you have to do a good one. It's not just milk acidulation... it is a delicate process. Doing curd, good curd, is actually enough difficult and troublesome to discourage many people from doing it at home, but of course it does not mean it is impossible. –  Lorenzo Aug 26 '10 at 8:07
    
@Sobachatina: and, by the way, traditional mozzarella requires indeed bacterial culture (at controlled temperature) in order to do the curd. This is the reason why whey from previous coagulation is used to start the production of the curd (then also rennet is added). –  Lorenzo Aug 26 '10 at 8:16
    
I agree with you on both counts of course. I am saying that I personally have had no problems doing either acid set or traditional mozzarella and if even I can get it to work then it can't be as hard as its reputation implies. -- Where can you find buffalo milk? I've been forced to use other milks. –  Sobachatina Aug 26 '10 at 12:21
    
@Sobachatina: since few months I can get buffalo milk at my nearest convenience store, however in northern Italy (where I live) it is not so common. If you use cow milk you'll get "mozzarella fiordilatte", I like it even more than "mozzarella di bufala". –  Lorenzo Aug 26 '10 at 15:43
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