Day 248 – Homemade Mozzarella

Hello Yearlings!

Ever since we returned from Italy, all I’ve been able to think about is the food that we had there and where I can get my hands on something comparable stateside. As it turns out this has been giving me a lot of trouble, so Alex suggested that we just learn to make the things we wanted at home. Hence, why I learned to make biscotti. Clearly the next thing on the “learn to make at home” list had to be mozzarella.

I was actually surprised by how easy this was to make at home because I had tried before, and failed, because I hadn’t had the proper tools. You do need a heavy bottomed pan to get even heat and you need some sort of thermometer you can actually stick into the curds, if you just use a temp gun then you won’t know what’s happening under the surface. Also, slotted spoons and sharp knives are handy.

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Heat your milk and citric acid solution to 90 F. Pour in your rennet solution, stir for about half a minute and set aside (off the heat) for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up, cut the curds, place you curds back on the heat and bring it up to 105 F stirring as little as possible to avoid breaking up the curds.
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Once you bring it up to 105 F, take it off the heat again and leave it for another five minutes or so. Then, using a slotted spoon, remove the curds from the pot and put them in a microwave safe bowl. Do your best to get as much liquid out of the curds as possible.
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Microwave the curds for about a minute and squeeze out as much whey as possible. You’re looking for an internal temp of about 135 F. Continue heating, stretching, folding and twisting until you get the striation pattern that you’re looking for. Now would be a good time to add in your cheese salt if you’re using any.
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Once your cheese starts to look shiny you’re doing it right. Fold your cheese in over itself repeatedly until you get a ball. Then serve as you desire.

Ingredients:

1/8th Rennet tablet, dissolved in 1/8 cup water

3/4 teaspoon citric acid, dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1/2 gallon milk

Cheese salt to taste

You can read more about making your own mozzarella at home here. When you’re making mozzarella you have to be very cognizant of the milk that you’re using. If you use ultra pasteurized it doesn’t create the proper curds. Homogenized milk makes the cheese a little tough and squeaky, but it can be serviceable.  Your best bet is to find a local dairy that will sell you non-homogenized milk with very little pasteurization. Most everything you get in a chain supermarket will be less than ideal.

All in all this is less than half an hour of work. You could easily double this recipe to use a full gallon of milk if you had the proper pot for it. This recipe yields one large ball of mozzarella, but you could easily portion it out into several smaller balls of cheese instead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about one week.

Lots of Love,

Maya

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