DIY: 30-Minute Mozzarella

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Sorry for the radio-silence!  Chris has been holding down the fort, and farm, while I played camp nurse in Big Bear for the week.  It is so great to be home again!   Eating camp food was a reminder of how good we really have it, as well as how much our diet has changed over the past few years.  I will not miss the fake eggs, watered down coffee, and sugary cereal.  Stuffed squash and homemade sourdough bread are on the menu for tomorrow night!

My how things grow in only a weeks time.  I love walking the rows after spending time away and noticing all the progress that has been made while I’m not watching and waiting for “the pot to boil.”  The wait is FINALLY over for tomatoes!  We’ve been harvesting them by the bucketful.  My favorite way to enjoy a garden tomato is with mozzarella, a little olive oil or balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil.  /kəˈprāzi/ or Caprese.

In the same way that garden tomatoes are in an entirely different class than the beautiful, but anemic and tasteless tomatoes you find at the store, homemade mozzarella is incomparable to that found at the store in its taste and texture.  This recipe comes from New England Cheesemaking Company and only takes 30 minutes.  I ordered an entire mozzarella and ricotta making kit which included all the ingredients for years of cheesemaking.  This would be a fun activity to do with your children!  Use the freshest milk available and if possible try to buy from a local farm.  (It MUST be non-ultra-pasteurized milk or it won’t work.)  I’m hoping to make a trip to Liberty Farms for some fresh, happy goats milk and mozzarella makin’ tomorrow Yee-Haw!

(The pictures are from 2011 when my hair was long and Chris’ was ridiculous.  It was our very first time making cheese- you can see just how much fun we are having as we stretchhhhh and stretchhhhhhhh the cheese.)

The What:

1 gallon milk (not-ultra pasteurized, whole milk is best)

1 1/4 c. cool water

1 1/2 tsp. citric acid

1/4 rennet tablet (1/4 tsp liquid rennet)

1 tsp cheese salt (optional)

1 gallon stainless steel pot or any non-aluminum or non-cast iron pot

dairy thermometer

slotted spoon

long knife

microwaveable bowl

rubber gloves

The How:

1.  Dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet into 1/4 cup cool, chlorine-free water.  Stir and set aside.

2.  Mix 1 1/2 tsp. citric acid into 1 cup cool, chlorine-free water until dissolved.  Pour into your pot.

3.  Pour 1 gallon of milk into your pot and stir vigorously while adding the citric acid solution.

4.  Heat the milk to 90 F while stirring.

5.  Remove the pot from the burner and slowly stir in the rennet solution with an up and down motion for approximately 30 seconds.

6.  Cover the pot and leave it undisturbed for 5 minutes.

7.  Check the curd.  It should look like custard , with a clear separation between the curd and the whey.  If the curd is too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes.

8.  Cut the curd with a knife that reaches to the bottom of your pot.

9.  Place the pot back on the stove and heat to 105 F while slowly moving the curds around with your spoon.

10.  Take off the burner and continue slowly stirring for 2-5 minutes.  (More time makes firmer cheese.)

11.  Pour off the floating whey.

12.  Ladle your curds into a large microwaveable bowl and drain as much of the whey as you can without pressing the curds too much.  Put on your rubber gloves.

13.  Place the bowel in the microwave for 1 minute.

14.  Remove and drain off the whey as you gently fold the curds into one piece.  Add 1 tsp of salt if desired.

15.  Microwave for another 30 seconds.  Drain again and stretch the curd.  It must be 135 F to stretch properly.  If it isn’t hot enough, microwave for another 30 seconds.

16.  Stretch the cheese by pulling like taffy until it is smooth and shiny.  The more you work with the cheese the firmer it will be.  (Take a taste, yum!)

17.  Now form your cheese into a log or ball or braid it.  Eat a few slices of warm cheese now, so good!

18.  When finished, submerge it in 50 F water to cool for 5 minutes and then in ice water for 15 minutes.  This will cool it down and allow the cheese to hold its shape.  This step is critical as it protects the silky texture and keeps it from becoming grainy.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze it if needed.

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