Monday, January 4, 2010

Making Mozzarella

Since Fiona McBride came to live with us, our refrigerator has been transformed into a milk bank. The tall jar with the blue top in the picture above is my cream jar. It holds three quarts. The little one next to it is half and half, but I only tried that one time. Now I just put straight cream in my coffee, and I still have plenty of cream on hand for butter making.

Back to the milk bank. A little over a week ago, quart jars of milk claimed most of the space in our refrigerator, and I didn't have any more jars for fresh milk. That's when I called my friend Susan to ask her about making mozzarella. Her recipe uses a gallon of milk--a quick way to free up four jars! She not only came over and gave Emma one-on-one instructions, she brought the necessary ingredients: citric acid and rennet. All we provided was the milk.

Susan and her family make "30-minute Mozzarella" regularly with their goat milk. You can make it with milk from the store as long as it is not ultra-pasteurized. For complete instructions and step-by-step pictures, go to this page at New England Cheesemaking Supply. Also, read their troubleshooting page .

Here Emma carefully scoops the curds out of the whey.

In this step, the curd is heated in the microwave and then kneaded to distribute the heat evenly. Susan had Emma press the hot curd with the mat. After the second heating, Emma added cheese salt. Susan said that our cow's milk took a lot more salt than their goat's milk. The cow's milk also produced more cheese from a gallon of milk. I'm assuming that is because Jersey milk is about 6% butterfat, and Nubian goat milk is about 4%.

Susan recommended partially freezing the cheese to make it easier to grate. This worked perfectly, and I used it on a homemade pizza that night.

The two negatives to this mozzarella for us are having to microwave the curd* and not being able to use the whey to make ricotta cheese. The traditional mozzarella method requires a culture and it is this culture that allows the whey to be use for ricotta.

*Susan's version of 30-minute mozzarella gave this alternative for heating the curd without a microwave:

If you don't have a microwave, you may want to put on heavy rubber gloves at this point. Heat the reserved whey to 175 degrees. Add 1/4 cup of cheese salt to the whey. Shape the curd into one or more balls, put them in a ladle or strainer, and dip them into the hot whey for several seconds. Knead the curd with spoons between each dip and repeat this process several times until the curd is smooth and pliable.

No comments: