Fresh Mozzarella

We don’t host Thanksgiving at my house which means that I get to spend a lot of the week planning intricate dishes. Last year, we contributed desserts. This year, we are on appetizer duty.

Over the summer, I was given the tools to make my own fresh mozzarella. Why didn’t I try before now? A little bit fear, a little bit the inability to find raw milk.

So this holiday season I stepped up and used pasteurized whole milk. Shop Rite brand. Nothing fancy. The fancy bit is the citric acid and vegetable (or animal rennet). A quick Internet search found that they are both available from a number of sources.

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I followed the directions meticulously and made 2 batches. I am sure they will disappear. I also made Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, shiitake mushroom tartlets, and a zucchini tart by Martha Stewart. What are you contributing to Thanksgiving this year?

Fresh Mozzarella
Adapted from unknown copy I received from a friend (if it looks familiar let me know!)
Update: The recipe comes from Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheesemaking. According to my friend, the important factor here is to stay away ultra pasteurized milk. Raw or small dairy milk is even better than regular pasteurized if you can get it!

1 gallon whole milk
1 1/2 tsp citric acid
1/4 tsp liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 c water (OR 1/4 tablet rennet in 1 c water)
1 tsp salt

Pour milk into a large pot. Bring up to 55°F. Add citric acid and mix thoroughly.

Continue heating milk gently to 88°F. Milk will begin to curdle. Stir in rennet gently.

Heat milk to 100° to 105°F. Turn off heat. Curds will form clearly. The whey should be yellow clear rather than milky. If the whey is still milky, stir and allow to sit a few more minutes.

Scoop curds out into a large bowl. Drain as much as possible. Press the curds gently to remove even more whey.

Microwave for 1 minutes. Drain of whey again. Begin to fold cheese to distribute heat.

Microwave for 30 seconds. Knead to distribute heat.

Microwave again for 30 seconds. Add salt and knead until smooth and elastic. Cheese should stretch and look like taffy. If it breaks instead of stretches, reheat in microwave briefly.

Once smooth, roll into balls and eat. If you don’t plan to eat immediately, place cheese in a bowl of cold, salted water. This will ensure that the cheese cools evenly and has good texture. Store in fridge.

Makes about 3/4-1 lb of cheese.

Buying Citric Acid and Rennet

Citric Acid from cheesemaking.com

Citric Acid from cheeseandyogurtmaking.com

Liquid Vegetable Rennet from cheesemaking.com

Vegetable Rennet Tablets from cheesemaking.com

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Filed under Cheese, Italian, Vegetarian

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