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Mozzarella and Mascarpone take 2

I tried making both mozzarella and mascarpone again. One went tremendously ill and the other tremendously well. The mozzarella in my first attempt, if you remember, mostly worked but was a little tough and a little bland (A third opinion told me that it wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be). This second attempt at mozzarella however failed entirely. I followed the instructions in my kit to the letter but the curds never gelled the way they were supposed to, but then the first time they didn't quite either. Once drained they tasted pretty close to what they were supposed to, which was promising, but then once immersed in the warm water, they fell apart and melted away into the water instead of melting down together into a stretchable lump. Any attempt at stretching did not work at all and the curds I did manage to lift out of the water crumbled instead of adhering together to form one mass. I ended up resorting to squishing them into little balls and simply putting them in the cold water like that because I saw no other solution. I then spent forever trying to extract the remaining crumbled bits of curd from the whey. The whey tasted too acidic and odd in some way, but was still useable. The cheese, such as it was, didn't taste too far off but was almost as far from mozzarella's smooth yielding creaminess as you can get. It ended up being put unceremoniously on top of pizza to melt, and served its purpose there, but no more. The remaining salvaged curds I used in the mashed potatoes with the Mushroom Sauce, and it served to make the mash creamier but with an added tang which helped balance things nicely.

The mascarpone however went really well. I used the juice of one lemon instead of the citric acid as a bit of an experiment, and given the draining issues I had last time, I made it in advance and left it to drain over night. It came out a little more acidic tasting than the first time around, but smooth and thick and very tasty. We had it on sweet scones as an experiment to see how well it could replace clotted cream which we can't get here (although come to think of it, I can see if I can figure out how to make it). The mascarpone wasn't the same as clotted cream obviously, but worked very well and added a pleasant acidic counterbalance. I was trying a further experiment in food chemistry with the scones again, using whey and baking soda instead of baking powder, as I did in the Broccoli and Cheese Scones. Then I found it worked but not quite to the extent I would have liked (although I also had used some 5 grain flour which makes things a little denser anyway), so this time I added a little more baking soda - and it was a mistake. I added too much more and it was perceptible in the scones. The mascarpone with plum jam did a good job at masking it, but when tried on their own it was very noticeable and left the tongue feeling a little tingly. Oops. They did rise very well though and were light and fluffy, so there is that. They still went in no time, as did a whole jar of jam, but not the best scones I've made. (Oh for sea level baking again where I didn't have any of these issues!) Hopefully the next try will find the happy medium! As they kind of failed, I am not including my scone recipe today, but will give them some more thought and a little more work and post the recipe once I have fixed them!


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