EPISODE 8: Raw Milk Mozzarella


Learn how to make Mozzarella Cheese using raw milk with Sheri Crespo of Eden’s Edge Farm.


In our 8th episode, Sheri Crespo shows us how to make Mozzarella Cheese using raw milk from her own goats! Sheri has joined us for many in-person Fermentation Festivals, but in this video we get a glimpse into her farm to table process of making cheese. The process of cheesemaking dates all the way back to ancient Rome and even documented on Egyptian tomb drawings. Its exact origins are debated like most fermentation processes, but likely linked to nomadic herdsman who traveled with mammals who produced milk. Essentially the goal of cheesemaking is to carefully control the spoiling of milk (cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, etc.) into cheese. Cheese is cultured by either deliberately letting milk ferment by exposing it to airborne bacteria or by bringing milk to a temperature that promotes the growth of bacteria that feed on lactose. Milk is then acidified using vinegar or citric acid to create curds. Rennet or bacterial enzymes are then added to cause the milk protein casein to further coagulate. Solid curds are strained from the liquid whey and made into a finished cheese. Mozzarella is considered a type of “stretch-curd cheese” made by plasticizing and kneading fresh curd in hot salted water. This type of cheese is best enjoyed fresh as opposed to aged or mold-ripened cheeses. Sheri uses raw milk in this episode, however if you do not have access to that, you can purchase store bought pasteurized milk and add in Calcium Chloride.

Sheri Crespo and her husband Mark have been small-scale farming and homesteading in the Illinois Valley for the last 10 years. They currently manage a herd of 21 Nubian goats who graze in wild brambles and green pastures bordering the east fork of the Illinois River. Sheri uses her goats milk to create a variety of flavorful cheeses for her family to enjoy such as soft chevrè, mozzarella, feta, aged hard cheeses, and more. As their goats consume a diet of primarily native grown shrubs, flowers, and grasses, their milk is infused with a sweet flavor distinct to their local “terroir” (an area’s character based on it’s environment). The flavors and textures of Sheri’s cheeses change significantly throughout the grazing seasons from winter to summer, imparting a unique experience each time it’s enjoyed. Along with dairy, Sheri, Mark, and their son Matthew organically grow, preserve, and eat almost all of their own fruits and vegetables at Eden’s Edge Farm using no chemicals or additives. They are truly blessed with a little slice of heaven!

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Earth Scouts! is a program of Spiral Living Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving the Illinois Valley since 2006.