I have a running list, mostly in my head, of things I want to try. Homemade mozzarella cheese has been on the list for quite some time. We go through enough of it, so I wanted to give it a shot and see how it turned out. So here we go…
The recipe I used is here. And it is a good one. My additional notes with pics below.
1 1/2 tsp citric acid powder dissolved in 1 cup of cold water. I used bottled spring water, since chlorinated water is a no-no. Set aside.
1/4 tablet Fromase rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup bottled spring water. Set aside.
1 gallon whole milk. Homogenized but NOT Ultra High Pasteurized (UHP) – another no-no. I used HEB-brand whole milk, and I will again.
1 tsp kosher (not iodized) salt
Pour milk and diluted citric acid unit a 5-quart or larger stainless steel or ceramic NON-REACTIVE pot. Stir well. Aluminum or iron are bad… from a cheese-making perspective. I have a Le Crueset enamel-over-cast iron dutch oven that was a good size, and the enamel ensures it won’t interfere with the citric acid / milk reaction.
Raise heat, slowly, to 90 degrees Farenheit. Remove from heat. Add diluted rennet solution and stir, most lightly, for 30 seconds. Cover and don’t disturb for 5 minutes as the curd sets and starts to separate from the whey liquid. The consistency of curds you’re going for is soft tofu-ish. After 5 minutes, mine wasn’t very solidified, so I covered again and let sit for another 3 minutes.
Uncover and make 1″ x 1″ cuts from top to bottom. I used a stainless steel cake frosting spreader.
Return to low heat, stirring lightly, until temperature is 105 degrees farenheit. Remove from heat and continue stirring for another minute or two. The curds start separating from the liquid whey and will want to begin to clump together. Separate curds from whey. I used a stainless steel colander on top of a large plastic bowl, and a stainless steel scoop. The picture below shows the remaining whey at the top, and the glass bowl of almost-mozzarella curds in a microwavable bowl at the bottom – ready for the next step.
Heat in microwave in small bursts, measuring temperature, and stirring in between bursts, until mixture reaches 135 degrees farenheit. My microwave is pretty strong, so I used 20 second intervals of heating, and then stirring, until it reached 135 degrees. Strain off remaining whey. Begin kneading (like dough) and stretching, alternating, until mixture becomes cohesive and stringy.
I forgot to add the kosher salt until after the cheese got to the ball stage. So, this attempt yielded stringier portions than I had imagined. But it held together alright. Next time, I will use less salt than called for in the recipe (I’ll try 1/2 tsp next time). I formed my first batch into 3 loaf-ish shapes.
And then I put in a container with part whey liquid / part water and covered in the fridge.