There was a request for a cheese tutorial so here it is: how to make mozzarella in just a few easy steps! It really is easy so don’t be scared. This will yield about a pound of cheese. Last night we were going for speed and finished the whole process in less than an hour.
-One gallon of milk. Do not buy milk that says ultra-pasteurized! We buy Kemps Select because the label says Grade A pasteurized. We use whole milk but they say you can use 2% or skim. We want to try 2% next time.
-1/2 cup and 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water…bottled or filtered is fine
-1 ½ tsp citric acid (we found it in the bulk section at Whole Foods)
-1/4 tsp vegetable rennet. This can also be found at stores like Whole Foods. Keep it refrigerated. It should be good for up to a year.
-big pot (apparently it’s important to use non-reactive materials but I don’t know what that means…we just bought a big metal stock pot at Target)
-wooden spoon (because, apparently, it’s non-reactive)
-medium sized glass bowl
-slotted spoon (ours is metal)
-cooking thermometer (we use a meat thermometer)
1. Pour the whole gallon of milk into your pot and heat to 55°f. I do this on medium heat and stir a lot.
2. While the milk is heating, pour 1.5 tsp of citric acid into ½ cup cool non-chlorinated water. Stir until dissolved.
3. Once the milk reaches 55°, slowly add the citric acid water to the pot while stirring the milk. The milk should react by getting a little grainy:
4. Pour ¼ tsp rennet into ¼ cup of non-chlorinated water, stir and set aside. We’ve had our rennet for close to 9 months so we added an additional three drops to this mixture in case it lost any of its potency.
5. Continue heating and stirring milk until it reaches 90°f. I do this on medium to medium-high heat.
6. Once it reaches 90°f, turn off the stove (but leave the pot on the burner) and slowly pour the rennet water into the pot while stirring. Stir for another 20 seconds or so and then stop stirring.
7. Wait and don’t stir. The rennet will turn the milk into a solid-ish mass (curd). In a few minutes, the curd should pull away from the sides (about ½”) like this:
8. Wait 10-15 minutes. Using your slotted spoon, ladle the curd into your glass bowl. The curd will not actually be very hard. Mostly it’ll be gloppy and won’t stick together very well. This step takes some time and patience which is why I do it while Ian finds something else to do. Don’t worry if you get some of the whey (the watery part) into the bowl.
9. Also, don’t worry if you can’t get all the solids. A lot of it won’t be big enough to spoon up. Once you transfer the curds into the bowl, the whey will look like this:
10. Pour off as much whey from your glass bowl as you can.
11. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
12. Knead your cheese but be careful, it’ll be a little hot, especially the liquids. It’ll also turn to mush at this point. Keep kneading for about 20 seconds and pour off the liquid.
Ian asks you to forgive his hairy Scottish arms.
13. Microwave for 35 seconds.
14. Remove from microwave and sprinkle with salt (we used 1tsp but this part is up to you)
15. Knead again…it will be hotter this time. Pour off liquids. It should be getting firmer and it’ll sound squeaky.
16. Microwave for 35 seconds.
17. Knead again. If you want, you can pull it like taffy. If it cools, microwave again.
18. Keep kneading and, while it’s still warm, roll into a ball (or divide however you please).
And that’s it! Eat right away or put your mozzarella into a bowl of ice water for ½ an hour. Remove from water, put it in a container or zipper bag and store in the refrigerator. I’m not sure how long it’ll last because we can never go more than a day before eating it all.
Also, apparently you can make ricotta from the whey but we didn't have time. That would be two cheeses for the price of one! I'll do a tutorial if we ever try it.
Let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial (or about making cheese in general but you should know, I'm no cheese-making expert).