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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Recipe: Fresh Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

It was my first time making homemade fresh mozzarella cheese and it is so easy and simple. The great thing about making your own mozzarella is that you can add salt or no salt according to your preference. Also, it is much cheaper to make your own cheese at home than buying it at the supermarket. The cheese is great on salads, pastas, soups, or sandwiches. Are you ready to make Mozzarella Cheese? Let's get to the recipe...



Fresh Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
Makes about 1 pound of Mozzarella
Adapted from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company

INGREDIENTS

1-1/4 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoon citric acid
1/4 rennet tablet
1 gallon milk, whole or 2%

EQUIPMENT

5 quart or larger on-reactive pot
Measuring cups and spoons
Thermometer
8" knife
Off-set Spatula
Slotted spoon
Cheese Cloth
Microwaveable Bowl
Rubber Gloves

PREPARATION

1. Prepare the Citric Acid and Rennet: Measure out 1 cup of water. Stir in the citric acid until dissolved. Measure out 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl and stir in the rennet until dissolved.


2. Warm the milk: Pour the milk into the pot. Stir in the citric acid solution. Set the pot over medium-high heat and warm to 90F, stirring gently.


3. Add the Rennet: Remove the pot from heat and gently stir in the rennet solution. Count to 30. Stop stirring, cover the pot, and let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

4. Cut the curds: After five minutes, the milk should have set, and it should look and feel like soft silken tofu. If it is still liquidy, re-cover the pot and set sit for another five minutes. Once the milk has set, cut it into uniform curds and then several parallel cuts horizontally, creating a grid-like pattern. Make sure your knife reaches all the way to the bottom of the pan.


Cook the curds: Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and warm the curds to 105F. Stir slowly as the curds warm, but try not to break them up too much. The curds will eventually clump together and separate more completely from the yellow whey.

6. Remove the curds from heat and stir gently for another 5 minutes.


7. Separate the curds from the whey. Ladle the curds into a microwave-safe bowl with the slotted spoon.


8. Microwave the curds for about one minute. Drain off the whey. Put on rubber gloves and fold the curds over on themselves a few times. A this point, the curds will still be very loos and cottage-cheese-like.


9. Microwave the curds for another 30 seconds. Continue folding and stretching the curds. The curds need to reach 135F in order to stretch properly.


10. Stretch and shape the Mozzarella: Sprinkle salt over the cheese and squish it with your fingers to incorporate. Using both hands, stretch and fold the curds repeatedly. It will start to tighten become firm, and take on a glossy sheen. When this happens, you are ready to shape the mozzarella. Make one large ball, or two smaller balls, or several bite-sized boccocini. Try not to over-work the mozzarella.


11. Using and storing your mozzarella: The mozzarella can be used immediately or kept refrigerated for a week. To refrigerate, place the mozzarella in a small container. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of cool whey and pour this over the mozzarella. Cover and refrigerate.


I found that homemade mozzarella doesn't always melt as completely as store-bought mozzarella, especially if I've overworked the cheese and it has become very stiff. If you're planning to make pizza or something else where melting is desired, use whole-fat milk and make extra-sure not to overwork the cheese. It can also help to grate the cheese rather than slice it.

Using leftover whey: Making mozzarella leaves you with almost 3-1/2 quarts of whey! You can use this whey in place of water in bread recipes, other baked goods, or add it to soups.



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