Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Making Mozzarella

It was another rainy day outside.  Perfect for cozy indoor kitchen project, and today we made a batch of mozzarella. We love making mozzarella, though don't do it often since we usually turn our gallon of milk into yogurt instead.  However, today there was a request for making cheese, and it was a treat! We like to use supplies from the New England Cheese Making Supply (which are available locally at Vincenzo's).  The 30-minute mozzarella works beautifully - all you need is a gallon of good non-pasteurized (or at least not ultra-high pasteurized) milk.  It's always a fun project to do with kids, since they can help with every step of the way, and the cheese is delicious and ready to eat in only half an hour.  For variety, we like to mold it into shapes, add herbs and spices, or just eat it plain, or with freshly ground pepper and fresh tomatoes & basil when the garden is in full swing.  I'm already dreaming of ripe juicy tomatoes warm off the vine...(while our greenhouse walls and cold frames are currently still covered with snow!)  To make your own cheese, just follow these steps below:

Easy Mozzarella at Home Recipe

  • 4 litres (1 gallon) whole milk 
  • 1/4 rennet tablet + 1/4 cup cool (chlorine-free) water
  • 2 tsp citric acid + 1 cup cool (chlorine-free) water
  • 1/2 tsp cheese salt (or finely chopped herbs or sea salt)
1) Dissolve rennet table in 1/4 cup cool water (in glass jar or cup).
2) Dissolve citric acid in 1 cup cool water (in glass jar or cup).
3) Pour milk into large stainless steel pot and add citric acid solution.
4) Heat on low, stirring constantly until it reaches 90F (or 88F if using raw milk).
5) Remove from heat, then stir in the rennet solution carefully.
6) Cover with lid, and let sit on counter for 5 minutes (10 minutes if using raw milk).
7) Now check for curd - press back of hands carefully down on curd and you should see whey liquid clearly separating from the curd.
8) Cut curd into cubes using a long stainless steel knife (cut while curd is still in the pot).
9) Now reheat pot and bring to about 110F, continuously stirring while it heats.
10) Take off heat, continue stirring for a few minutes.
11) Then transfer the curd into a colander lined with cheesecloth, and let whey drip down into a stainless steel bowl or pot.  Gently press with a wooden spoon to press out all the whey.
12) Now heat whey in pot, or hot water in a new pot, until it reaches approx. 185F.
13) Remove from heat, put on rubber gloves (to help protect your hands from the heat) and dip your curd into the hot whey/water bath.  You can use a slotted stainless steel spoon for this as well. 
14) Allow curd to become soft, then stretch and fold it gently and repeatedly. 
15) Add cheese salt (add more or less to taste). 
16) Keep dipping and stretching curd, folding and pulling it until it becomes smooth and shiny. 
17) When you have it at desired consistency put curd into an ice water bath and it will hold it's shape.
18) Eat and enjoy!

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