Yield: Approx. 3/4 lb.
This mozzarella recipe takes just 30 minutes to make, but it might take some practice. This is a fun project to do with kids!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)
- 1 gallon cow or goat milk
- 1 1/4 cup cool, chlorine-free water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
- 1/4 rennet tablet
- A large pot, big enough to hold one gallon milk
- Slotted spoon (not plastic)
- Long knife
- Microwaveable bowl (if using a microwave to stretch the curd) or a small pot (if using the stovetop method to stretch the curd)
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- Large bowl of water, placed in the refrigerator and large bowl of water, place in the freezer, before beginning
Dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet in 1/4 cup water. Wrap the rest of the tablet in plastic and store it in the freezer.
Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid into 1 cup water; stir until the citric acid is dissolved. Pour mixture into the large pot.
Add 1 gallon milk to the pot. Stir vigorously with the slotted spoon while heating the milk to 90°F (88°F if using raw milk).
- Take pot off the burner. Slowly stir in the rennet with an up-and-down motion of the slotted spoon for approximately 30 seconds.
Cover the pot and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. If using raw milk, let sit for 10 minutes. Check the curd at this point. It should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curd (solid) and the whey (liquid), If the curd is too soft or the whey is too milky, let sit for a few minutes more.
- Cut the curd with a knife that reaches to the bottom of the pot.
Put the pot back on the stove and slowly heat it while stirring the curd with the slotted spoon. (A) if using raw milk, heat to 90°F. (B) if you're using pasteurized milk, and you're going to use the microwave to stretch the curds, heat it to 105°F. (C) if you're using pasteurized milk, and you're going to heat it using the stovetop to stretch the curds, heat it to 110°F.
Take the pot off the burner and stir slowly for 2 to 5 minutes. More stirring will make a firmer cheese.
USING A MICROWAVE TO STRETCH THE CURDS:
9a. Ladle the curds into a large microwavable bowl and drain off the whey. Use rubber gloves if you like. Don't press too much.
9b. Microwave for one minute, then fold the curds gently into the center of the bowl, draining off more whey. Add 1 teaspoon salt (optional).
9c. Microwave for another 30 seconds. The curd should be 160-170°F now. If it isn't, microwave it for another 30 seconds.
9d. Stretch the curd by pulling it like taffy until it is soft and shiny. The more you work the cheese, the firmer it will be.
USING A STOVETOP WATER BATH TO STRETCH THE CURDS:
9a. Heat a pot of water to 185°F. Ladle the curds into a colander, folding them together gently toward the center and draining off the whey as you go.
9b. Dip the colander containing the curds carefully into the hot water a few times, then use the slotted spoon to fold the curds back into the center of the colander until they become stretchy. This will happen when the curds reach 160°-170°F.
9c. Remove the curds from the colander and stretch them like taffy. If curds do not stretch easily, return them to the pot. At this point add cheese salt, if desired. Then stretch the curd by pulling it like taffy until it is soft and shiny. The more you work with the cheese the firmer it will be.
10. Form the cheese. Form the stretched curd into one large ball, or a few smaller balls. Braid it, make it into a log, or roll it into a number of sticks. Be creative!
11. Cool the cheese by submerging it in the bowl of refrigerated water. Leave 15 minutes, then put into the bowl of ice water. This cooling step is important to keep the cheese from becoming grainy.
Whole Milk Ricotta
Ricotta is traditionally made with the whey left over from other cheeses, including mozzarella (see our website for instructions). However, you don’t need whey to make delicious ricotta: this whole milk ricotta is sweet, creamy, and an excellent choice for first-time cheesemakers.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 gallon milk
- 1 teaspoon citric acid (more if using raw milk)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Salt to taste
- A pot big enough to hold 1 gallon of milk
- A large spoon for stirring
- Cooking thermometer
- Butter muslin
- Large bowl
- Rubber band or twist-tie
- Pour milk into the large pot.
Add citric acid (and salt, if you are using it). Stir to combine.
Slowly heat to 195°-205°F. Stir often to avoid scorching.
When milk starts to curdle noticeably, turn off heat and allow to set for one hour. Do not stir.
Line the colander with butter muslin. Place colander over a large bowl.
Ladle curdled milk gently into the lined colander. Bring the corners of the muslin together and tie them. Hand this bag of muslin containing the cheese off of a cabinet handle with the large bowl underneath to catch the whey. Drain for 30 minutes or longer.
- Place the curds in a bowl and add heavy cream.
Refrigerate for up to a week covered. Ricotta may be frozen.
Marinated Mozzarella Appetizer
This always disappears quickly at parties. Serve with fancy toothpicks!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 batch mozzarella cheese, cooled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 large clove garlic, minced fine
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or slightly less than 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- Salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for 3-4 hours up to overnight. Let come to room temperature before serving. Olive oil may congeal overnight in refrigerator, but will liquefy again at room temperature.