Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring...When a Young Girl's Fancy Turns to...Mozzarella?

Wow! There is so much going on! Spring is happening like it’s arriving late or something… procrastination never gets you anywhere…you’d think Mother Nature would know that! But the fact that she was late on the uptake and now has put the beginning of Spring into overdrive it is causing us humans to run around like little crazies! But I’m getting ahead of myself, you see I too am trying to make up for lost time…in my quest to keep up with Mother Nature’s folly I have not spent any time writing down what I’ve been up to! Now I’ve got all sorts of things to share…so I guess I will just pick a spot and start!

My goat cheese making has been moving along swimmingly and I am feeling quite confident about being able to turn out a nice little batch in a heartbeat. But not being one to leave well enough alone, I have been hankering to produce

 other types of cheese…the natural (and easiest) next step is to make mozzarella cheese. No special equipment needed, like say a cheese press, which is a must have for any harder cheese. No, just some pots, bowls and time are about all you need. So-o-o about a week ago, it was our last really cloudy Saturday, I got my supplies together and set about making a nice batch of mozzarella…this process takes about 3 hours, however most of that time is not hands on.

Mozzarella Cheese

2 Gallons of milk (I used whole, raw milk so I could skim off the cream and make a little butter!)

2 tsp. Citric Acid dissolved in ¼ cup water

1 C. Cultured Buttermilk

30 drops Rennet mixed with ¼ cup water (Rennet can be found online, or as we are fortunate to have a store that sells brewing and fermenting supplies)

1 gallon water

½ C. Sea Salt
Large stock pot

Long knife

Food thermometer


Tea towels
First, if using raw milk, skim the cream off the top of your milk. If the cream is not removed, it will separate itself out of the cheese while you’re making it.

Pour the milk into a large stock pot. Stir in the buttermilk and the citric acid mixed with water.

Heat to 91 degrees

Remove from heat, put a lid on the pot and let it sit for one hour

Add the rennet mixed with water to the milk. Allow it to sit for a least 15 minutes, or until the milk solidifies slightly and is able to be ‘sliced’

Using a long knife, ‘cut the curd’ into one inch squares. Let the curd sit for about five minutes.

Heat the curd to 91 degrees.

Remove from heat, put the lid back on the pot and let it sit for one hour.

After one hour the curds and whey should be separated.

Next, place a strainer into another large pot and cover with a tea towel.

Pour the curd into the strainer/ tea towel, straining out as much whey as you can…save the whey, it’s great for using as the liquid when making rice, oatmeal, or soup - big nutrition and give things a nice richness without adding flavor, and it lasts in the fridge for about six weeks!

Next, gather up the corners of the tea towel, and hang up the whey over a bowl and let the rest of the whey drain out…this will take a couple hours at least.

When you remove the tea towel, surprise, a big blob of cheese! Now on to the fun part…

In your large pot, heat one gallon of water mixed with ½ cup salt. Heat the salt water to 170 degrees.

Meanwhile, cut the cheese into one -two inch squares.

Once your water reaches 170 degrees, remove it from the heat and dump in your cheese. Sort of stir it around for a minute or two, until the cheese softens and begins to stick together.

Using a big wooden spoon, gather the cheese and lift it from the water. It should start sticking together - blob like - on your spoon.

Stretch the cheese, dip it down into the hot water every few stretches to keep the cheese heated. Continue to stretch until the cheese becomes shiny. The stretching part takes about eight minutes.

Now that you have stretched your cheese, and it looks like a long shiny wad, take it out and put it on a plate.

I divided my cheese into three - 8 ounce-ish blobs. Squeeze out any excess water and shape the cheese into balls.

Place the balls into a bowl of cold water. This will cool the cheese and get the balls to hold their shape.

And there you have it…mozzarella! It is absolutely yummy! And mozzarella freezes well too so you can make a batch and not have to worry about gobbling it down at lightening speed - although with the first batch gobbling seems to be part of the mix! Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Is there no end to your talent? Wow. Sounds really, really good!