A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homemade Fresh Mozarella--It's easier than you think!

Made Mozarella cheese yesterday.  I made both curds and some 2" cheese balls and put them in the fridge for snacking and sides.  For the cheese balls, 30-60 seconds in the microwave and they turn into warm, gooey mozarella.  It tastes as mouthwatering as it sounds!  This morning we had warmed mozarella with toasted herb bread to scoop it up and berries on the side.  Breakfast was good! 
Fresh curds disappear fast at our house!
We must have mice ;-)

Here's the recipe.  This recipe makes approx. one pound of cheese.  It only takes about 30 min. and is surprisingly easy.
Check at your grocery store for ingredients.  I do know the Rochester Good Food Store carries the rennet and citric acid.  Otherwise, you can order online at www.cheesemaking.com.

Note:  For those of you without a microwave, read the variations at the very bottom of this post (after whey).  Otherwise follow the steps as posted.

1 gallon whole milk (do not use "ultra" homogenized, milk)
1/4 tsp. liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
 (use bottled or distilled water--or let a cup of tap water sit out 24 hours)
1/2 TBlsp. (1-1/2 tsp.) citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
  (or 6 Tablespoons lemon juice)
canning salt (or cheese salt if you can find it)
1.  Add the citric acid/water solution to the milk while stirring
2.  Put milk in pot over med heat, warm milk to 90 degrees.  (A clip-on thermometer works best.  I use my candy thermometer with a few extra scratches made to go below the lowest marking of 100 degrees.  Check first to see that your thermometer goes low enough.)
3.  Remove from heat.  Slowly stir rennet into warm milk with up-and-down chopping motion.  Cover and let sit 5+ min.  Check to see if milk is separating into solid whitish curd and watery-like whey.  If not, let sit a few more minutes.
4.  With long, thin knife or metal spatula, cut the curd into 1" cubes.
5.  Put back on heat and warm to 105 degrees, stirring the curds gently.  Remove from heat and stir gently for a few more minutes.
6.  Use a slotted spoon to lift curds into 2 quart microwave-safe dish.  (Save the whey in the pot for other uses.  See 1/16/2012 post.) Gently press down the curds into the bottom of the dish and drain off any excess whey.  Do not cover the dish.
7.  Microwave on high for one minute.  Fold cheese over and over (like kneading bread) to distribute heat evenly.  Use either a spoon or wear heavy-duty rubber kitchen gloves to do this.  Drain off any excess whey.
8.  Microwave on high for 35 secs.  Repeat folding/draining process above.
9.  Microwave on high for 35 secs. and repeat folding/draining process.
10.  Add salt and knead as above to distribute.
11.  Knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic, like taffy.  If cheese breaks instead of stretching, it needs to be reheated (35 sec.)
12.  The cheese should look smooth and shiny.  Working quickly, do any of the following: roll into serving-size balls, cut into curds, roll in a log and cut into thin discs for crackers, flatten for pizza lids or quarter for cheese to grate later. 
13.  If you are not eating the cheese while it is warm, place the cut cheese in a bowl of ice water for 1/2 hr to bring down the inside temp rapidly.  This will produce a consistent, smooth texture throughout the cheese.
14.  May store, covered, in the fridge for up to one week, (but after tasting fresh Mozarella, it may not make it to the fridge at all!).

Herbs, pepper flakes or other can be added with the salt or added to individual servings when you are reheating them (30 sec - 1 min in micro)

Variations for making mozarella without a microwave:
Step 5.  Instead of heating the milk to 105 degrees, heat the milk to 110 degrees.
Steps 6-10.  Ignore these steps and do the following instead: (You'll need heavy rubber gloves.)
With a slotted spoon, remove the curds to a bowl and shape them into one or two balls. Heat the reserved whey to 175 degrees.  Add 1/4 cup canning salt to whey water.  Put the ball(s) into a ladle or strainer and dip into the hot whey for several seconds.  Take out and fold the cheese over and over (like kneading bread) to distribute heat evenly.  Do a couple of more times until the curd is smooth and pliable.
Continue on, starting with Step 11, as per post.

1 comment:

  1. This will be fun when the girls come next year. They love cheese and to beable to make their own. Neat.