Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Making Homemade Mozzarella

I finally got around to making my first batch of mozzarella! I would highly recommend as a a fun activity for kids and friends alike. It could even be a fun (yet kind of dorky) date! I was amazed to see how few ingredients and tools you need to get started. 

Overall it was a really fun experience once I had all of the correct ingredients (I had a hard time finding citric acid). It can usually be found in the co-op or natural food store or in grocery stores in the canning section. I got lucky at Walmart after striking out at all of the above options! Rennet is available in liquid or tablet form (I found mine at the local co-op). You can check out this website for a mozzarella cheese making kit Ricki's Cheesemaking Kit.

I can only imagine that the more I make it, the easier it will become. I decided to go with low fat milk (yes the RD in me couldn't resist). I think I will experiment with whole milk next time, because mine wasn't as creamy as I was hoping for. 

It is also important to find a milk that has not been pasteurized over a temperature of 172 degrees (avoid ultra-pasteurized). If your curd does not form very well, you have possibly used a milk that does not fit this recommendation. Support your local farmers and buy LOCAL!

1 gallon of milk yielded 2 small balls of mozzarella, making it much cheaper than buying it fresh in the store (often 4-5$ per package). Once you have invested in the rennet ($5.69) and citric acid ($2.99) the cost of the mozzarella all depends on the price of your local milk! I have enough Rennet and citric acid left over to make dozens of batches of mozzarella... and that is sweet sound to my ears!

Don't forget to wash your hands and surfaces well, you will be getting intimate with the curd. Now let's get started! 
Soft set (after step 5) 

Homemade Mozzarella 
Makes 1 pound (16 servings)

1 gallon of milk
1-1/2 tsp citric acid powder 
1/4 tsp Rennet plus 1 cup water or 1/4 Rennet tablet (crushed and dissolved in 1 cup water)
1-2 tsp table salt (optional- I omitted)

Large pot
Microwave-safe bowl
Slotted Spoon, Long knife
Instant-read Thermometer


Step 6
1. Dissolve citric acid in 1/4 cup of water.

2. Pour gallon of milk in large pot. Pour citric acid in and stir. 

3. Put the pot on over medium-high heat until it reaches 80 degrees F (using your instant-read thermometer). 

Tip: The milk should start to curdle! 

4. When the mixture reaches 90 degrees, remove from heat and add rennet mixture. Stir the mixture well.

5. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes! 
Step 8
Tip: it should resemble a soft custard

6. Using a knife make cuts to the bottom of the pan into the cheese about 1" apart to form a "checkerboard".

7. Place back on the burner over medium heat and heat until 105 degrees. 

8. Stir gently for a minute and remove from heat. 

9. Transfer the curd into a colander to drain. 

10. Gently press the curd to remove the whey (the watery part) 

11. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 1 minute and pour off the whey. 

Tip: Be careful, the curd may start to become very hot. Rubber gloves can be helpful at this step!                  
Step 9
12. Press the curd, removing more whey and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Drain and knead curd (like bread dough). Add salt at this point and continue to knead. 

13. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Knead and start stretching the curd. 

Tip: If it is not stretching well it may not be hot enough

14. Knead it back into a ball (or mini balls, if desired). TA-DA you have mozzarella! Place in a bowl of ice water to chill down.

Eat fresh or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Your cheese should stay fresh for up to 3-4 days, if it lasts that long :)

Smile! It's fun! 

Steps 11 and 12

Stretching the curd. (My concentration face)

Fresh Mozzarella! 

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