One cheese that I have been procrastinating about is Mozzarella. Don't ask me why, I just was! The Mozzarella recipe listed in Ricky Carrol's Home Cheesemaking book had quite a few precautions as did her instructions on her website, but I figured that now that I had a few cheeses under my belt (an understatement I suppose?), I should be able to rescue any potential disaster.
The ingredients are simple. All you need are the following;
Four litres of full cream milk. I chose one that was 3.4% butterfat.
A microwave bowl, 1 and a half teaspoons of citric acid mixed with a half a cup of unchlorinated water. A quarter teaspoon of non-ionised salt, and a quarter teaspoon of rennet mixed with a quarter of a cup of unchlorinated water. Don't forget to sterilise your utensils or give them a spray with vinegar and dry.
Heat the milk to 15C (55F) then add the citric acid solution. Stir well and continue to heat.
Heat to 30C (88F), then add the rennet solution and stir well for 30 seconds only. Keep heating during the milk to 38-40C (100-105F) and the curd will begin to come away from the edges of the pot. This happens in about 5-8 minutes.
However, this is where disaster struck (no more photos until the end). Because I used pasteurised/homogenised milk and the book recipe did not mention the addition of calcium chloride to make a firm curd, I found that is was weak and sloppy. The recipe calls for scooping the curds (not cutting) into a microwave bowl. I couldn't do this as it was loosing too much protein due to the whey being really cloudy and it started turning into a sloppy mess. I decided after a few scoops to cut the curd into 2.5cm cubes (1"), which saved the day. The whey went clear and yellow and I managed to drain it all through cheese cloth. I did some research afterwards and should have left the milk to heat a few degrees and a few minutes longer more before scooping.
I then followed the rest of the recipe. I drained as much whey from the curds in the bowl and then put it in the Microwave for 1 minute on High. I drained the whey again, then into the Microwave for another 30 seconds on High, drain and form into a single mass, and back into the Microwave for a final 30 seconds.
I then added the salt and started kneading quickly like bread dough until it was smooth and shiny and it could be stretched like Taffy . Kim took over as the Tank Man turned up (another post topic), and rolled the cheese into five balls and then put them in a big bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. This helped the cheese to have the same consistency throughout.
We then took it out of the water and have already eaten one ball sliced onto crackers, topped with tomato and freshly cracked pepper and salt. Delicious! Apparently, it can be stored covered in the fridge for a few days, but don't think it will last that long. We are putting it on home made pizza tomorrow night!
The New England Cheesemaking supply company site has the full recipe and a better step by step guide which is a little different than the book version of the 30 minute Mozzarella. This web version includes cutting the curd and leaving it a little longer before draining.
You can also add lipase at the same time you add the citric acid solution which should give it a stronger flavour and leave it for 20 minutes before adding the rennet. I am going to give this a try tomorrow during a cheesemaking demonstration that I am holding for the Melton Sustainable Living Group.
Whilst the taste is nice, it doesn't have a full flavour that I have tasted in Italian made Mozzarella. The lipase should fix this up and give it some grunt.
There is nothing quite like fresh Mozzarella! Why did I wait so long to make it, I will never know.