August 28, 2013

Homemade Mozzarella

After making the incredibly easy cream cheese, I wanted to try another type of cheese. I had made mozzarella as part of a class once but not completely from start to finish. I decided to try that adventure using a recipe from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.

It's a bit of work, but oddly was also a bit of stress relief for me. And it turned out well. As long as I can continue to find unpasteurized milk, I'll continue to make this.

Homemade Mozzarella
1 gallon whole milk, unpasteurized
1 1/2 tsp. citric acid
1/4 tsp. liquid rennet
1/4 cup kosher salt

Pour the milk into a large pot, and stir in the citric acid. Heat the milk to 90°F to take off the chill. Remove from heat, and add rennet. Stir slowly using and up-and-down motion to mix in the rennet. Cover, and let sit 5 minutes.

Gently probe the curds with the side of a spoon. You should see well-defined curd and watery whey. If you don't, cover and let sit a few more minutes. When it is ready, gently cut the curd into 1-inch cubes in the pot using a long knife.

Place the pot back on the stove, and heat to 110°F, gently swirling the curds with a spoon. Remove from heat, and gently stir 2 more minutes.

Scoop the curds into a sieve set over a large bowl. Return the whey to the pot, and heat to 175°F. Add the salt to the whey, and prepare to burn thyself.

Divide the curd into two balls, and give each a good squeeze. Drop them into the whey. Knead, stretch and pull the mozzarella balls, one at a time, folding each ball over itself and working it like taffy (which I've never made). Dip back in the whey to prevent breaking. Knead and stretch until you have a smooth, shiny, cohesive cheese. Form it into a tight ball, and drop in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes.

Best eaten fresh but will keep in the refrigerator a few days. Makes 1 lb. (which looks like a tiny amount for all that milk).

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