Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese - Updated





I finally caved and bought some cheese making citric acid and some liquid vegetable rennet and remade my mozzarella cheese. It turned out way better than the original. It stretched like I imagined it would and had the perfect creamy texture. I used 1/4 tsp of the liquid rennet.
 



I have been wanting to make fresh mozzarella for the last year or so and I finally got around to it last Sunday. It turns out that it is really cheap, easy and delicious. I made about half a pound of cheese that I divided in two flavoured balls; half with hot pepper flakes and the other half with rosemary. We used it in a salad and I dragged a couple pieces through bread crumbs and lightly pan fried it for the best mozzarella sticks ever. It took less than an hour and I think I am going to make it a regular thing. I am hoping to work my way up to make cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to use as perogy filling.


Here are photos of some of the process (full directions below).





Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (1 Lemon, juiced)
1/2 rennet tablet (I found a pack of ten for $6 at a cheese shop)
3.75 L 2% milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Herbs for seasoning

Directions:

1. Measure out 1 cup of water. Stir in the citric acid until dissolved. I went to two specialty cheese shops and they did not have citric acid. I ended up deciding to use the juice of one lemon (a real cheese maker would roll their eyes at this because it’s not scientific and geeky because every lemon is different and the pH could be affected).  Measure out 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl. Stir in the rennet until dissolved.
2. Pour the milk into a pot. Stir in the citric acid solution. The citric acid basically curdles the milk and separates the fat from liquid. Set the pot over medium-high heat and warm to 90°F, stirring gently. I only have a cheap candy thermometer but it worked out.
3. Remove the pot from heat and gently stir in the rennet solution. Count to 30. Stop stirring, cover the pot, and let it sit undisturbed for at least10 minutes.
4. After 10 minutes the milk will have set and you are ready to cut the cheese! With a long knife cut it into curds creating a grid-like pattern. Make sure your knife reaches all the way to the bottom of the pot (Picture 1).
5. Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and warm the curds to 105°F. Stir slowly as the curds warm. The curds will eventually clump together and separate from the whey. Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring gently for another 5 minutes (Picture 2 & 3).
7. With a slotted spoon, ladle the curds into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the curds for one minute. Drain off the whey. Put on your rubber gloves and fold the curds over on themselves a few times.
8. Microwave the Curds to 135°F continue with stretching the curds. The curds need to reach this temperature in order to stretch properly.
9. Sprinkle the salt and herbs over the cheese. Stretch and fold the curds repeatedly. It will eventually become glossy. I made the rookie mistake of over-working my cheese so it ended up a little “squeaky” and tough. I think less is more for the stretching (Picture 4).
10. I covered it in olive oil and threw it in the fridge until we ate it. I dumped out the whey but I know there is a ton more you can do with it.

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