A.J. Simone, a 23-year-old account executive at a furniture chain, had tried pickling, canning and bread-making. The next frontier for him: making cheese. “The first time I pressed cheese into a pre-formed mold, it was really satisfying,” says Mr. Simone, of Queens, N.Y. He now makes ricotta and dabbles in South Asian paneer.
Mozzarella, chèvre, yogurt and butter are joining home-made pickles, preserves, bread and beer as do-it-yourself projects that even nonprofessional cooks will try.
Making Mozzarella at Home
Dairy DIYers include connoisseurs of artisanal foods, as well as back-to-basics crafters like Mr. Simone. “In the past it’s been more of the elite foodies,” says Carol Blindauer, senior vice president of health and wellness at the National Dairy Council in Chicago. Now she sees a broader group of people trying it out.
Ashley English, author of “Home Dairy,” a cookbook published last year, believes one reason for the enthusiasm for dairy-making is that it doesn’t require expensive contraptions or hours of time. Most of her recipes—for buttermilk, mascarpone, crème fraîche (a thin sour cream) and quark (a soft fresh cheese)—take less than an hour to prepare. Fresh mozzarella can take as little as 30 minutes. “When people see that you can get a carton of heavy whipping cream and get butter in five minutes, they are in a profound state of awe,” she says.