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How to make you own mozzarella at home

This is an easy at home recipe that can be made in just a few hours. The most important part of the process is paying close attention to microwave timing. If your new to cheese making this is a great recipe for you. Its much tastier and better for you than cheese bought in the supermarket.

There are several recipes out there that promise 30 minute completion but I have found that with just a little more time and preparation you can greatly improve the taste and texture of your final product. As you get used to the process it becomes faster but to start take it slow and enjoy learning a new skill.

What you will need

Equipment:
1. At least an 8 quart pot either enameled or stainless steel. (Do not use aluminum, cast iron or other reactive pots)
2. Thermometer. (A candy thermometer will work but a digital thermometer is best for ease in temperature control)
3. A couple of small bowls or measuring cups to dissolve the Citric Acid and Rennet in.
4. A Large strainer to separate the Curds from the Whey.
5. A long sharp knife to cut the Curds up with.
6. A slotted spoon to stir the Curds and dip them out with.
7. Large bowl for the drained off Whey. (Glass is best)
8. Small bowl to put the Curds in. (Glass is best)
9. Microwave

Ingredients:
1. 1 gallon Milk. I use the whole milk with the red lid. Let the milk set out either in the gallon container or in the pot until it gets to about 50 degrees. If you are able to get fresh milk that is even better. you can also use alternate types of milk such as buffalo, goat , and camel just be aware that you may need to adjust salt to get the desired taste.
2. 1 Rennet tablet crushed. (The Rennet tablet is used to coagulate the milk. You can also use liquid Rennet if you can get it. You can get rennet from many cooking supply stores and specialty shops.
3. 2 teaspoons Citric Acid divided. 1 teaspoon is dissolved in water and the other one is sprinkled directly into the milk. (The citric acid is what gives the cheese it’s stretch. You can purchase this at health food stores or at most pharmacies.
4. 1/2 cup water divided in 2. (Do not use water straight form the tap use bottles,distilled ,or carbon filtered.)
5. 1 – 2 teaspoons salt.

Step One (Preparing the citric acid and rennet)

1. Pour 1 teaspoon of Citric Acid into 1/4 cup water and stir. Crush the Rennet tablet and pour it into the other cup of water.
The Citric Acid should be dissolved by the time you have to use it. Most of the Rennet will be dissolved but there will still be some residue left.
2. If you haven’t done so already, pour milk into your pot. (Be sure to check milk temperature at this point it should be around 50 degrees when you pour in the Citric Acid

Step Two (Adding the citric acid)

1. Pour the dissolved Citric Acid in the milk and stir for 1 minute.
2. Now sprinkle the second teaspoon of citric acid over the milk and stir for an additional minute. At this stage you will probably see the milk begin to curdle.

Step Three (Heating the milk)   

                                                                             

 At this point you should begin to heat your milk stirring occasionally. On low heat bring the milk to a temperature of 88 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit . Using a digital thermometer of candy thermometer will ensure the proper temperature is achieved. You do not want to overheat the milk as temperatures that are too hot could pasteurize the milk. If the temperature is too low the rennet will not curdle the milk.

Step four (Adding rennet)

Once the milk mixture has reached 88-89 degrees turn off the heat and pour the rennet solution and stir gently for 20 to 30 seconds. At this point cover the pot and let sit undisturbed for twenty to thirty minutes.

Step Five (Achieving the clean break)

Once the mixture has been allowed to set you should be able to perform a clean break. (When the milk has rested long enough it becomes gel-like. At this point you can test for a break. Simply poke a clean finger (a knife may also me used) into the curd at a 45-degree angle. Lift your finger up out of the curd so the curd falls to either side. A clean break means that the curd slides off your finger in a semi-solid state with no white residue on your finger. A perfect clean break separates across your finger in a straight line. If the curd is still too liquid, it needs more time to stand undisturbed. If it is the consistency of soft yogurt, it’s almost there. Take your time as this step is very important and shouldn’t be rushed.

Picture of Wait for a clean break.

Step six (Cutting the curd)

Using a large sharp knife cut the curd into half inch cubes. The result should look similar to the image below.

Picture of Let the Curds set undisturbed for 5-10 minutes.

Step Seven (Let your curds rest)

We all need to rest from time to time and you curds are no different. Once you have cut them let them sit undisturbed for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step eight ( heating your curds)
Picture of Apply low heat and heat to 108 degrees.
Once your curds have rested over low heat bring your mixture up to a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to monitor temperature with a thermometer. As the curds are heated whey is expelled and the curds sink to the bottom of the pot.
 
Step nine (remove from heat and stir)
Once you have achieved 108 degrees Fahrenheit remove from heat and stir. Continue stirring the mixture gently off and on ( every few minutes) for approximately twenty minutes. The curds will continue to shrink as whey is expelled. 
 
Step ten ( Separating the curds)
Picture of Drain the Curds.
Using a strainer separate the curds from the whey.
Curds Completely Drained.jpg
                                                        
Put the Curds into a strainer or colander and let set for about 15 minutes. Allow the Curds drain until no more whey comes out of them. This process might take 10 – 15 minutes. Once complete transfer curds to a small glass bowl.
Step eleven ( Heating the curds)
Its now time to use the microwave. Place the Curds in the microwave on high for 30 – 45 seconds(10 second intervals seemed to work best for me). Sorter cycles seemed to prevent overheating. The Curds will start to separate from the Whey. Depending on wattage you may need to adjust intervals.
Picture of Heat the Curd.
Before heating
Let Whey drain in Bowl.jpg
After heating
Step Twelve (squeeze the curd)
Work into Ball.jpg
Using you hand or slotted spoon gently press the curds against the side of bowl to release leftover whey. Pour off whey.
Once you have poured off excess whey microwave again for 15 – 20 seconds. This time while squeezing curds work into a ball. Pour off excess whey. It should have a dough like consistency
Step Thirteen (stretching your curds)
 
                                                                            
At this point you will want to once again put the cheese into the microwave. This time heat for twenty seconds once heated mix in salt with hands. Pick up cheese as shown it should start to stretch under it’s own weight. If not put it in the microwave for a few more seconds.
Step Fourteen (knead the cheese)
      
At this point knead it like bread dough into a ball. If it breaks apart on you just put it in the Microwave again for a bit. As soon as it is nice and smooth and shiny it’s done. You now have some Great Home Made Mozzarella Cheese. Once finished forming ball wrap in plastic or put in a Zip lock bag and refrigerate. It can be kept in refrigerator for a week to two weeks.
 
                                                                      
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