Friday, February 5, 2010

Home-made Mozzarella

In Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle they talk about making mozzarella cheese in less than 30 minutes. I love fresh mozzarella and decided this was something I had to try. Yesterday, I did.

For the full directions go here.

This was so easy it’s criminal. The only possible hitch might be finding the proper ingredients.

You will need one gallon pasteurized milk. NOT ULTRA-PASTEURIZED. Sometimes this can be more of a challenge than you’d think. I used organic vat-pasteurized whole milk. ( I have no idea what vat-pasteurized means but it worked). One gallon of milk will yield 2 fist sized cheeses.

Also 1 1/2 tsp citric acid. I found it in my local health food store bulk aisle. I bought a few tablespoons worth for .49.

Rennet. No one in my town had this, which surprised me. My local super-healthy grocery store never even had a request for this before. I found it in a food co-op in the next town. It was in a refrigerated section but sometimes you will find it in the dessert aisle with the Jell-O. It looks like this:

The directions recommend a stainless-steel pot and glass or ceramic measuring cups but I believe you may use other materials as long as they are VERY CLEAN. You do not want any foreign bacteria on your utensils! And we used a candy thermometer instead of an instant-read.

For full instructions remember to go here!

First you slowly heat the milk on the stove. As it reaches room temp you add the diluted citric-acid. As it warms more it will begin to curdle. You then add the diluted rennet. It began to develop curds immediately. In just a few minutes the remaining whey should be a pretty clear yellow and the curds ready to remove.



Place curds in a large microwavable bowl (Large enough so you can knead it right in the dish) and press out as much liquid as possible. It feels and looks a bit like firm bread dough at this point.

Nuke it for one minute and press and knead out more moisture. It can get HOT so use caution. Heat for 30 more seconds and repeat. When hot you can pull and stretch it like taffy. Pretty neat. Add some salt and nuke-and-knead again. It now feels like silly putty. Very HOT silly putty.

I divided it into 2 palm-sized pieces and shaped them into balls.


Done! The flavor turned out deep and nutty, probably because I used whole milk. One issue I noticed and that was it was a little firmer than I expected and I suspect that’s from over-handling it. I was a little rough on it during the kneading process.

I can’t wait to try this again! It was so easy (and fairly mess-free too) you could do this before dinner and eat it fresh! The deep flavor will be absolutely delicious with fresh home-grown tomatoes and basil on a home-made baguette with a dash of balsamic vinegar. YUM! Can’t wait for summer!