Friday, April 24, 2009

Making Mozzarella at Home

Making MozzarellaI can't remember where I saw this idea but somewhere out in that great swirling cosmos of the blogosphere I came across a recipe for making your own mozzarella. Really.

The idea was so intriguing, so wild, so "COOL!" that I had to give it a try that week and here are the results.

Somehow it's nice to know that should I ever be out of cheese but in possession of a cow I can make unlimited cheese pizza.

I wonder . . . can you milk a moose?

Forget I asked that.

You'll need:
one gallon of whole milk
one crushed Rennet tablet (found in baking aisle near tapioca)
2 teaspoons citric acid (found at health food stores)
1 tablespoon sea salt

equipment:
large stainless steel pot
large strainer
slotted spoon to scoop and drain
heat proof bowl
thermometer

Making Mozzarella1. Dissolve the crushed rennet tablet in about a tablespoon of water

2. Pour your milk into a large pot on the stove like you see above. Whole milk is best but you can use 2% or even skim it just won't be as rich.

The very very best to have is farm fresh milk straight from the cow (or moose?) but if you're like me you may not have access to a bovine beast so do what you can. Did you know that authentic mozzarella is made from buffalo milk? I'm full of trivia today.

3. Get your thermometer ready and put the heat on the milk to medium low. Add the citric acid and stir it into the milk. Citric acid isn't too expensive, I think I got that huge plastic thingie of it for about $5. Enough to supply the entire western hemisphere with mozzarella for a month.

4. Stir in the diluted rennet tablet and stir it thoroughly up and down into the milk. With the citric acid and the rennet into the pot you'll see the whole thing begin to curdle like you see in picture 2.

5. Continue to heat the mixture as it curdles, up to 105 degrees, stirring gently, then turn off the heat and let it set for about 30 minutes.

6. Strain the curds from the whey (the watery liquid that has separated from the curds--remember your Miss Muffet? Now you know what that stuff she was eating is). You can reserve the whey and make your own ricotta which is my next project to post but more on that later.

In the meantime put the curds in a heat-proof bowl and squeeze them gently to get rid of any extra whey that might be lingering then break them up gently with your fingers. Sprinkle the salt over the top and stir it in a bit. Also, if you wish to add any spices such as basil now is the time to add a dash of herbs to your concoction.

Making Mozzarella7. Okay here's the tricky part--really tricky. If you're doing this with children this is where you'll really need to supervise. You're going to have to heat the curds up again to about 165 degrees to be able to form a nice smooth ball of cheese.

You can do this by heating up the whey to about 180 and pouring a bit of the hot liquid over the curds but this didn't work well for me. Instead I used my microwave but you'll have to watch it carefully. Better to put it on very low power and heat it slowly than to heat it too much and cook it. Zap it bit by bit until it becomes pliable and stretchy but not melted.

Making Mozzarella8. Don't burn yourself and work the cheese into a smooth ball either with your hands or with the backs of a couple of spoons like you see in picture 3.

Mine here isn't as smooth and pretty as it should be but this was my first batch which I heated with the hot whey method and it didn't work so well. Plus I put herbs in it which gave it some more texture.

Your mozzarella is now ready and you can eat it any time you choose but the best way to save it is to wrap it in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag where it will keep for about 8 days give or take.

It would be great in a Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes and basil and some high-quality olive oil or on a pizza which is how we ate this batch. VERY good.

Sponsored by Dimples and Dandelions with the Serena and Lily Bedding Collection for children.

31 comments:

Jolanthe said...

looks good - but I want to know who in the world ever milked a moose.

I'm thinking I'd go for the bovine version. :)

Jolanthe

jacjewelry said...

Wow, how neat would that be to be able to make mozarella in the comfort of your own home! Yours looks fantastic - and a healthy portion, too! Will have to give it a try. Yes, buffalo mozarella is the best!!!

One Mom said...

You make it look "do-able" and I like the idea of adding fresh herbs.

BTW, I hope I'm being a polite guest in asking if there should not be a "p" in your caresse salad?

Kathy G said...

I did this last year: (kathyat49.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-thing-101-say-cheese.html) and it turned out wonderful.

However, I'm not used to eating whole-milk mozzarella and the cheese was a bit rich for me. Next time I think I'd try it with 2% milk.

Summer said...

It's amazing what you usually never even think you could make on your own.

My husband just made a batch of yogurt yesterday and the texture was 10x better than anything store bought.

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

This looks really interesting. I can't wait to try it.

cndymkr / jean said...

I think you should really try the whole milking a moose thing. Think of the blog! You would totally rock. Of course I would want photos too.

Marcy said...

I did this in culinary school -- we made all sorts of cheese, actually. I haven't done it at home yet, but probably will because the kids love fresh mozzarella on their pizzas.

lifemoreabundant said...

Why yes, you can milk a moose. You just have to do it VERY VERY carefully. :-)

Great recipe. I wonder if I can do it with soy milk? Soy cheese is so expensive.

Just Mom said...

I LOVE experimenting in the kitchen, and this looks like a lot of fun.

Does the mozzarella freeze well, or is that not recommended?

Scribbit said...

Yes you can make it with soy milk--at least that's what the recipe I had found said.

lifemoreabundant said...

The answer to my question (in case anyone else wanted to know) is no. Rennet doesn't work on soy milk. It needs lactic acid.

But still, for everyone without a milk allergy in their house, this is a great recipe.

Scribbit said...

I'm glad you looked it up, shows how faulty my memory can be! No soy. So noted. And as for freezing--I haven't tried that yet.

Fawn said...

Neat! The heating up part at the end sounds daunting to me, though. We have a local farm that makes goat cheese haloumi and now I'm suddenly craving it. Mmmmmm....

Fawn said...

BTW, at least with store-bought cheese and milk, freezing causes the fat to separate. With milk that means shaking it to get it all back together again (though it takes forever to thaw). With cream, it means the fat gets all globby on top, but you can still whip it. With cheese, it means crumbliness, which is a little weird in a cheese, but you can get used to it.

page2 said...

Thanks for the cheese recipe. I LOVE cheese. I love it so much I've wanted to try to make it myself. I will give it a try.

Sarah said...

Ooh, I've been waiting for someone to write something like this so I can see it in action...

I'll be trying this soon...

Kim said...

I think I may have gone my entire life without ever thinking about how mozarella is made—which is rather startling when I consider how much I love caprese (my all time favorite appetizer in the world!)—so I really did find this post fascinating.

I get intimidated, though, by recipes that require careful heat control. Is the end result worth the effort? Does it taste better than store-bought fresh moz?

I like the idea of also being able to make your own ricotta from the whey—looking forward to that post!

Jenna Consolo said...

I stand all amazed. Again.

Lori said...

My silly goose wants you to make some "Mooserella".

A friend of mine makes us food from time to time and makes her own mozzerella. She's Hindu and Vegan, and I'm not sure if she uses a Rennet tablet, could this be possible? I do know that it has a bit of vinegar in it...

ursula said...

this is a dangerous recipe to know....and I thank you from the bottom of my heart..........

Lisa said...

Very impressive. I've been wanting to try this myself and I believe this gives me the extra inspiration I need! Thank you.

Hairline Fracture said...

I'm so impressed that you even thought to do this, let alone that you did it!

Amber said...

I am very intrigued by the idea of making my own cheese. But I'm also a little intimidated. I think I'll have to sit on this one a little longer.

But I do appreciate the instructions and the photos - they look great!

Maddy said...

That's what we're having for lunch today together with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden.....assuming I can endure baking the bread.
Cheers

Wendy said...

Great site and great recipe. If you don't mind I'm passing you a blogger award given to me by my aunt - stop by my site to "pick" it up and pass it on. I was a former teacher for 3rd 4th graders and we've tried this in the classroom - homemade chesse is yummy.

Craft Stew said...

Kuddos to you for always trying new things. I'm a bit too intimidated to make mozzarella, but for a long time I've wanted to try making yogurt cheese. You've inspired me to take the plunge! I'm putting a link up from my blog to this recipe later today.

Rick said...

Can't wait to try your recipe. Have ordered cheese cloth, rennet tablets and citric acid. Thanks.
Wating for your Ricotta recipe using whey from the Mozzarella.

TidyMom said...

Wow that looks good! I had no idea you could make your own Mozzarella!

~TidyMom

Nicole said...

Ok, this actually looks doable. My hubby is a cheese freak. He would be tickled pink if I made this for him.

Tammy said...

I just printed this out to put in my food storage notebook.

Yippeeeee!