Mastering Mozzarella…a mission of making that milky-creamy-mild-marvelous cheese!

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What started out, as a curiosity became a mission. I didn’t want to become a serious cheese maker, as such, but I did want to make some simple delicious cheeses for my family and friends. Now, as with ricotta, I cannot imagine purchasing the stuff! In less than an hour, I can make 7-10 balls of Mozzarella like a pro…

With making my own Mozzarella at home, I know what is and what isn’t in my cheese. I don’t have to rely on a label to seek out the ingredients and check as to how much sodium is added. I don’t add salt to mine by choice. There are times when I use my Mozz to go into something savory, but there are times, it might also go into a fruit and cheese Quesadilla where I wouldn’t want the saltiness.

Mozzarella cheese is incredibly versatile – its creamy mild flavor has much to do with its versatility. And, it melts! Mozz can be eaten on its own, put into dishes like casseroles or Mac and Cheese, used as a salad ingredient, or added as a layer in a big beautiful Lasagna. The options for this simple cheese are endless.

If you can possibly get raw milk for making this cheese, get it. If not, make sure to use milk that is not ultra-pasteurized. Kalona brand is readily available at Whole Foods stores and at some local groceries.
I find my yield is always larger when I have raw milk to use. Batches will vary with or without the milk being raw – sometimes the yield just varies with little explanation.

In my recipe for making this simple cheese, it requires you to have a good thermometer for accurate temps (a probe thermometer if possible) and a microwave oven. Using a microwave (which I use for little else) is how I have always made my Mozzarella, and I stick with what works! Once your Mozz is done, you can then make Ricotta out of the Whey. Do check out my Blog on Ricotta as well for directions!

Have a cheesy good time….

Heating up the milk to make mozzarella

Heating up the milk to make mozzarella

Letting the Mozzarella curds relax before straining

Letting the Mozzarella curds relax before straining

Mozzarella curds draining in jelly bags

Mozzarella curds draining in jelly bags

These are the finished balls of Mozz to encourage you!

These are the finished balls of Mozz to encourage you!

Homemade Mozz processed for using in Lasagna

Homemade Mozz processed for using in Lasagna

RMJ’s 30-Minute or So, Homemade Mozzarella
Yield: about 2 pounds of mozzarella (this will vary)

Ingredients:
1 cup distilled water
 + 3 teaspoons citric acid

1/2 cup distilled water + 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet
2 gallons milk (I use cow’s milk), whole or 2%, not ultra-pasteurized
(raw if possible)

Directions:
In 1 cup of distilled water, stir in the citric acid until dissolved.
In a separate cup, add 1/2 cup of distilled water, stir in the rennet until dissolved.
Pour the milk into a non-reactive pot (either stainless or enamel over cast iron). Turn heat to medium; stir in the citric acid solution at 55°F.

Continue to heat the milk to 88-90°F, stirring up and down gently. Turn off heat source and gently stir in the rennet solution (count to 30). Stop stirring, cover the pot, and let it sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes.

The milk should have set, and it should look and feel like silken tofu or very thick yogurt. If not, re-cover the pot and let it sit for another five minutes. Once the milk has set, cut it into curds – make several parallel cuts vertically through the curds and then parallel cuts horizontally, making it look like a checkerboard pattern. Make sure your long knife or large offset icing spatula reaches all the way to the bottom of the pan to cut through the curds.

Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and warm the curds to 103-105°F. Stir slowly as the curds warm, but try not to break them up too much. The curds will continue to separate from the yellow whey.

Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring gently for another 3-5 minutes. Ladle the curds into a microwave-safe bowl (I use glass) with the slotted spoon or mesh skimming tool.
Microwave the curds for one minute. Drain off the whey. Put on your rubber gloves, (if you choose to wear them) and knead the curds over on themselves a few times and remove any additional whey (placing any remaining whey back in the pot).

Microwave the curds for another 30 seconds, and then continue with stretching the curds. If not pulling like taffy, continue microwaving in 30-second increments (I usually only do it twice). Remember, the curds should pull like taffy!

If you want to add salt, now is the time to do it. Sprinkle the salt over the cheese and incorporate it into the taffy-like mixture. Stretch and fold the curds repeatedly in a kneading fashion (do not to over-work the cheese).

Your cheese will become thick and glossy. Shape your Mozz, making the size balls you prefer and drop into a bowl of ice water. Unless you want to eat it warm!! If not, place in ice water as instructed and let cheese remain until it cools. Place the balls on paper toweling and let dry momentarily.
The finished Mozzarella can be used immediately warm or kept refrigerated for up to a week. Wrap your cooled Mozz in plastic wrap and tie with ends of plastic. It can be frozen once chilled in the freezer using a freezer bag or a vacuum sealer bag.

Making Mozzarella leaves you with lots of whey. If not making Ricotta from the whey, you can use the whey in place of water in bread making, baked goods recipes, fermenting projects, give your dogs a treat, or add to smoothies, soups or stews.

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