Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

August 8, 2008

Finally - homemade mozzarella

This last weekend A~ and I finally tried our hand at making our own mozzarella. It was fun, interesting and didn't taste half bad. Add to that the fact that we got enough cheese from one $2.80 gallon of milk that it would have equalled what we would normally have spent $6-$8 on. There are still some finessing things that we have to work out, like the exact amount of rennet to add, how long to knead it for, and the proper amount of salt to add, but we ate it, and I think the boys are looking forward to more of it.
It all started with a gallon of milk poured into a stainless steel pot. The milk was then heated slowly to 55 deg F.

When the milk gets up to 55 F we add some citric acid diluted in water and continued heating until the milk had risen to 88 deg F, stirring occasionally. At this point the milk has started to curdle slightly and looked almost like cottage cheese sitting in yogurt.

When the milk has risen to 88 deg F, we stirred in our rennet with an up and down motion. (Don't ask me what that's supposed to mean that's just what the recipe said to do). It's at this point that we lost our way a little. The recipe that we were following called for 1/4 tsp, and the package for the rennet called for a different measurement. We added the packages quantity and it didn't seem to be getting the curds and whey to split so we added a little bit more and continued heating. We were supposed to heat it until it reached near 105 deg, but ended up having to go to nearly 120 before we saw any real separation. I don't know if it had to do with our elevation or what, but this is the main area that we need to play around with to perfect it.

Now you can see the curd separating pretty well. You need to let it continue to separate until the whey is mostly yellowish/clear.

It's now that you ladle the curd out of the whey with a slotted spoon. After you've done that, and drained off as much whey as you can, the curd needs to be microwaved for 1 minute, knead and pour off excess whey (don't throw that whey away, you can make ricotta with it) Do this at least two more times for 35 seconds each times, lightly salting after the second time, and knead the cheese until it is stretchy and shiny then roll into balls and set in ice water bath if you are not going to eat it right away.

And there you go. approximately 3/4 to 1 pound of finished mozzarella. You can eat it right away, or let it cool and store in a lightly salted water in the fridge.
It was fun and tasty, although I think I needed to knead it a little longer. The finished product was still a bit "wet" for lack of a better description, and was breaking down slowly in the water bath.

We did enjoy it with a few homegrown tomatoes and basil and some olive topenade that A~ made, and the next day put slices on top of some eggplant Parmesan.

We'll be tweaking this recipe to make it work better for us, but I think we're onto something good! I'm consistently amazed with how possible it is to make some of the dairy products that seem to mysterious like this cheese or the yogurt that I love to make. Give it a try, it's not that hard, costs very little for the supplies and is a great skill to have in your quiver.



Anonymous said...

Congrats! I'm envious! I'm still trying to figure out why I've been unsuccessful in my attempts. But, I use raw milk and I suspect there's quite a bit of tweaking I need to do when following the recipes one can find all over the place out there nowadays. And can I just say how fabulous that looks. Have you told your wife how great she is lately?! :)

ilex said...

That looks completely amazing. Well done sir.

MeadowLark said...

I'm in! That looks delicious.

rob said...

I have been wanting to try this for awhile now. So, tell me, just how delicious is it?

ChicagoMike said...

Hey P~,

I have been thinking about this since reading it and I am getting ready to try it.

A couple of things I have found out that may effect your cheese making (if you didn't already know them)

1) Don't use iodized salt, it kills the bacteria from the rennet.

2) Don't use chlorinated water, same.

3) Use real animal rennet if you can find it. Rennet also comes in extremely variable strengths and you have to be aware of strengths.

Just a note on a year old post, but..