Several years ago a friend of mine showed up at a party with a selection of cheeses he'd made. They were delicious! I tucked that back in my mind as something I'd really like to try someday.
Well, that day came this weekend. I went onto eBay and found a 30-minute mozzerella cheesemaking kit on auction and ended up getting it for about $6.50 plus shipping. It was enough to make thirty pounds of cheese. It also sounded like something fun for my daughter to help me with.
We started with a gallon of whole milk straight from the supermarket and followed the directions exactly. I'm sorry to say I don't have photos (next time!) but it was super easy and definitely something we'll be doing more of. My little girl loved helping me. It was pretty safe for her, because the temperature of the cheese doesn't get much above 100 degrees. I told her we were making a surprise and she didn't figure out what we were doing til the end.
The cheese was (yes, was... we ate the entire batch- about a pound or so) delicious. It's absolutely devine when it's warm. I look forward to making another batch or two to freeze, and to use on homemade pizza. And I'm planning on starting to bid on a hard cheese kit from eBay soon.
Costwise... it cost me about $0.50 per batch for the materials plus the cost of a gallon of milk (less than $3). When I buy mozzerella balls at Sam's it costs me at least twice that, and the homemade tastes so much better. Not to mention we can make this into string cheese, which can be very pricey for what you actually get.
Cheesemaking... definitely a money saver and a fun thing to do with your kids.