I was going to post some pictures of the cheese press I’m making, but while assembling, things went pear-shaped and I’m reconstructing today.
So to make up for it, I thought I’d write about some mozzarella I made a couple of weeks ago. This is a really simple recipe that you can find all over the internet. I mainly followed this Instructable (http://www.instructables.com/id/Great-Mozzarella-Cheese/). You don’t need anything fancy for this recipe from an obscure cheese shop. Big stainless pot, sieve, spoon and microwave is all you need.
As for ingredients, don’t rush out and milk a cow for raw milk. Store bought whole milk (homo) works fine. Apparently 2% and skim milk work as well, but I wanted the full-fat taste for this one. Two more important ingredients for this recipe are rennet and citric acid. I managed to find some liquid calf rennet, but I ended up using Junket brand Rennet Tablets (http://www.junketdesserts.com/). Most grocery stores carry them in the baking aisle. I found them at Fortinos in the end. The citric acid comes in a powder form and I already had some from making mead (the summer solstice mead in our cold room will be a later post). Citric acid is sold at Bulk Barn and some grocery stores in the spice aisle.
The trick to making mozzarella is getting the temperatures spot on. Too hot or cold, and the rennet won’t set the milk and you’ll be dumping 4L of milk down the sink (been there, dumped it). Once you’ve got the curds to form and removed it from the whey, you end up with something that looks more like the mozzarella you see in the shops:
Through kneading and heating the curd in the microwave (temperature is extremely important), the cheese releases more and more whey while starting to stretch. Stretching the cheese is very important to get the mozzarella consistency, it’s also a lot of fun. This is the point where you’ll get really excited and realize you’ve actual made cheese! People around you may just roll their eyes, but hopefully operate the camera for you.
I added some salt and immersed the cheese into cool water. After a few minutes, it was chopped up and put on homemade pizza (I take zero credit for the pizza. My long suffering wife is the talented cook in this house).
The whey that is leftover, should be kept covered overnight in the pot. The next day you can make a simple ricotta cheese by boiling the whey, and straining off the liquid for 1/2 an hour through cheesecloth.
This recipe yields a pound of mozzarella and half a pound of ricotta from 4L of whole milk. The mozzarella is best used within a week and the ricotta within a few days (you can freeze the ricotta for another day).
I’ll have to get this press going so I can post about the cheddar I want to make. The wax is in the mail, the milk is in the fridge, but the press is in pieces.