Wednesday, April 1, 2009

30-Minute Mozzarella

We made this over the weekend. It’s very easy and satisfying to make your own cheese. You can use the leftover whey to make ricotta (also very easy).

Measure out all additives before you start, in clean glass or ceramic cups. Use unchlorinated water.

1 gallon pasteurized milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
1 ½ level teaspoons citric acid dissolved in ¼ cup cool water

Stir the milk on the stove in a stainless steel kettle, heating very gently. Add 55 degrees add the citric acid solution and mix thoroughly. At 88 degrees it should begin to curdle.

¼ tsp. liquid rennet, diluted in ¼ cup cool water

Gently stir in diluted rennet with up-and-down motion, and continue heating the milk to just over 100 degrees, then turn off heat. Curds should be pulling away from sides of pot, ready to scoop out. They whey should be clear. (If it’s still milk, wait a few minutes.) Use a large slotted spoon or ladle to move curds from pot to a 2-quart microwaveable bowl. Press curds gently with hands to remove as much whey as possible, and pour it off.

Microwave the curds on high for one minute, then knead the cheese again with hands or a spoon to remove more whey. (Rubber gloves help – this gets hot!) Microwave two more times (about 35 seconds each), kneading between each heating. At this point, salt the cheese to taste, then knead and pull until it’s smooth and elastic. When you can stretch it into ropes like taffy, you are done. If the curds break instead, they need to be reheated a bit (but don’t over cook it, or it will turn stiff and dry) Once cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls to eat warm or store for later in the refrigerator.

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