I always thought mozzarella cheese was this bland, rubbery stuff in a shrink wrap that says 'low moisture' meaning dry. I also thought that making cheese was an artisan's trade that took a ton of time, expensive equipment and waiting until the planets lined up. No on both. I have made mozzarella 3 times now and it comes out smooth, buttery and deeply flavored. I can't wait until tomato and basil season comes so I can have Insalata Caprese salad!!! You will be shocked how easy it is, and it takes less than an hour to make about a pound!
Let's get started, shall we?
What you'll need:
- Large stainless or enameled pot, at least 2 gallon
- measuring cups and spoons
- slotted spoon
- stirring spoon, wood, silicone or plastic
- glass bowl for the microwave
- cooking thermometer that measures 35 degrees up to boiling
- 1 gallon whole milk (you can use 2% but just make sure it isn't ultra pasteurized)
- Unclorinated water (I got mine out of the water filter and it worked fine)
- citric acid for food
- kosher salt (grocery store, I like it better than regular salt anyhow)
Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid into 1/2 cup cool water. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon rennet in 1/4 cup cool water.
Pour milk into stockpot and put on thermometer. Either wait until milk comes to 55 degrees by itself or heat milk on very low until it comes to temperature.
When milk reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit (sorry, I don't know Celsius), stir in citric acid. Slowly heat milk to 90 degrees, stirring gently ever so often to evenly distribute heat. When it hits 66.6 degrees, draw a circle in the floor with your foot and spit in the middle of it to keep evil at bay.
At 90 degrees, gently pour in rennet solution and mix to distribute once or twice and that's all. The milk with start to chunkify (I hate the word coagulate when it comes to food!)
Gently heat to 100 to 105 degrees and turn off the heat. There should be a clean break around the edges and the liquid should be clear. If the liquid is still milky, let it sit a few minutes.
Scoop out curds (hate that word too) with slotted spoon. I pour mine in a strainer. If I had any sense, I would have bought cheesecloth, which would have made everything so much easier!
Try and squeeze as much water as you can from the curds, they will start to mash together as you squeeze them.
Microwave the curds for 1 minute on high. Take them out and knead them, pouring off any water that may have come up. Be careful, these steps can burn your hands!
Microwave the curds for 35 seconds on high. Take them out and knead them, pouring off any more water. Add 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of salt if desired (start with 1 1/2). Knead salt in.
Microwave the curds for 35 seconds more and knead until they look like taffy, shiny, smooth and pliable. THEY WILL BE HOT, BE CAREFUL, I KNEAD MINE WITH A SPOON!!!
You can either place in a silicone mould for a festive shape (I think muffin tin shape is quite festive), roll in a log for slicing, small balls for snacking, whatever. You have a very small window of time before the cheese gets cool and stiff but you can hit it with the microwave a couple of more times for about 20 seconds to warm it up.
This is about the best mozzarella I have had. Once you make it, you won't want to settle for store rubber cheese again. If you like this (which I do) you might try other recipes from where this one came from: