Thursday, March 7, 2013

Marvelous Mozzarella

Mozzarella is an amazing cheese.  It has to be one of our favorite cheeses too.  It is so easy to use on almost anything from atop a pizza to fresh from the stretch with a little olive oil.  Mozzarella is a great cheese.  It is an even better cheese for those of you starting out on your cheese making journey.  The process I am about to show you is what New England Cheesemaking Supply ( calls Ricki's 30min Mozzarella.  The beautiful thing about cheese is no recipe can tell you exactly what to do because every cheese is different.  In fact, most cheeses have been created by accident and Mozzarella is no different.  Rumor has it that a chunk of fresh cheese was accidentally dropped in water in the city of Naples.  On that day Mozzarella was born!! Pizza has thanked that man ever since.
First things first, get yourself a gallon of whole milk (preferably raw... better flavor, better curd).  Raw milk took me forever to find here in Utah.  Many states have outlawed raw milk without signing waivers and becoming licensed to sell it.  Stores do not want the trouble and don't carry it.  Stick with it you'll find some, even it means making friends with farmer Bill!
 You will also need Citric Acid and Rennet.  You can find these at cheese stores (no good ones in utah maybe you have one...) This rennet is great for what were doing: Liquid Animal Rennet - 2 oz.. I went to the Harmons grocery store and got citric acid for $14. I looked online and found it for 5 bucks here: Citric Acid 100% Pure - 4 oz.
Pour milk into a nice non-reactive pot and add 1 and 1/2 tsp. Citric Acid diluted into 1 cup water.
 (We are dealing with acids and the like and we don't want to ruin the curd so do a small amount of research and make sure you have a good pot.)
Heat the milk to about 88-90 degrees (A simple candy thermometer works great for now, but as you advance your skills a more precise one will be needed).
Once it reaches temperature you will add Rennet.  Every recipe will tell you how much to add, I don't believe in this.  Every recipe uses a different rennet (tablet, liquid, animal or vegetable) and each has a different potency.  Read the label and add the right dose for the milk you have. One word of caution, DON'T BUY Junket brand rennet.  I learned through many false attempts that it doesn't work for cheese!! here is a picture of the dreaded stuff!

Let the pot sit off heat and form a curd.  It should look like this.  Whey should be clear and have a "clean break".
Afterward you're going to cut the curd! Get a knife long enough to cut the curds all the way to the bottom.  Cut in a checker fashion, the some lines at a 45 degree angle about 1 in squares. 
Put back on heat and heat to about 105 degrees.  Stir slowly during this process.  The curd and whey should start to separate.

After reaching 105 remove from heat after stirring for 2-5min.  Remove the curd from the whey when the whey is clear (clear for whey... still will be a little yellow, just not white).
Drain as much whey as possible.  Then put it in the microwave for about one minute (like the rennet, don't listen to me on time every microwave is different), temperature should reach around 135 degrees.
Remove and kneed curds like bread, and my favorite part... STRETCH!
(Return to microwave if not stretching well.  If you want salt add here as well, we use pure sea salt, hard cheeses require this so start now!)

After you have stretched to the consistency desired (more kneading and stretching will remove more whey making it great for grating over a pizza, less stretching is good for fresh eating!), form into ball, DRESS and ENJOY!!!


Thanks for your help Jay!