Cheese has always been a mystery to me. A delicious mystery, but a mystery none the less. Even now that I have made it I don’t quite understand how it works, I just know that it does.
It was really tricky for me to understand how to make mozzarella cheese. Different blogs have different information, and sometimes what they say is scary.
“You can’t make mozzarella with homogenized milk” – uh oh, counts me out!
“You can’t make mozzarella with pasteurized milk” – uh oh, there goes my chances.
“You can’t make mozzarella without a double boiler” – I’m out. Completely.
“You can’t make mozzarella if your name is Bonnie” – well, that last one I never read anywhere, but it seemed like my chances of making good mozzarella were slim to none anyway.
I am now here to solve the mystery for you, and share with you about my new-found addiction to cheese-making.
Yield: slightly over 1 pound mozzarella
Ingredients & Tools
1/2 Fromase rennet tablet, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water (I got mine from Amazon: Here.)
1 gallon whole milk (I have only used store generic milk, nothing special.)
1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid, dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water (I used this one)
Strainer and large bowl
instant thermometer (I just have this cheap one)
slotted spoon (I like this one!)
1. Pour the citric acid/water and gallon of milk into your large pot. Heat it slowly until it reaches 95ºF. Remove from heat.
2. Add the rennet/water and stir slowly in the same direction for about 30 seconds. You will definitely see curds starting to form by this point, if you didn’t see any during step 1. Let set for 5 minutes.
If it looks like this, you know you’re on the right track:
3. While I don’t have a picture of this step, it is really simple. Take a sharp knife and cut the curds into squares. (This does not have to be precise! Simply make about 3 cuts one direction and about 3 more perpendicular to them.)
4. Now it’s time to scoop out the curds and drain them. With your slotted spoon, scoop out a spoonful of curds and let them drain. Place them in the strainer over the bowl to continue draining the whey. Repeat until all the curds are removed from the whey.
5. After draining a while, the curds should form into a ball with your hands pretty easily. You can squeeze them to remove more whey. Place the curds in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the microwave and drain the excess whey.
6. Knead the curds (looks and feels like cheese now!) in sea salt. I don’t measure the salt, but cheese needs to be salty. Use probably 1-2 teaspoons of ground sea salt for this batch. Fold it under itself almost like kneading bread. You will probably need to microwave this for an additional 30 seconds to get all the salt worked in and make it into a smooth cheese ball. You can also make cheese sticks, or make a “rope” and tie off sections with string to make little mozzarella balls.
7. Cool in the fridge and enjoy!
I know that lots of clever people use all the whey from making cheese for other purposes, but I have not yet tried anything. If you are a seasoned cheese maker, what do you do with the whey? Teach me your secrets!