With the price of cheese on the rise and the aluminum possibly lurking in bagged shredded cheese, now is the perfect time to transform raw milk into mozzarella.
Ideas for using fresh mozzarella: Layer balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, and tomatoes to make caprese salad for your next get-together. Our family makes sourdough pizza with fresh mozzarella almost every Friday. My kiddos like creating cheese sticks for a snack. And, of course, we shred mozzarella on top of our favorite pasta dishes.
Your family and friends are sure to be impressed with your homemade mozzarella, especially when you tell them YOU “cut the curd!”
- A pot big enough to hold one gallon of milk
- Slotted spoon (not plastic)
- Long knife
- Small pot
- Rubber gloves (optional)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 gallon raw milk from Milk House
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp. citric acid
- 1/4 tsp. liquid rennet
- Large bowl of water, placed in the refrigerator when you start
- Large bowl of water, placed in the freezer when you start
1.Dilute 1/4 tsp. liquid rennet into 1/4 cup of water.
2. Mix 1 1/2 tsp. citric acid into 1 cup of water and stir until the citric acid is dissolved. Pour this into the big pot.
3. Pour 1 gallon of milk into the pot and stir vigorously with the slotted spoon, while heating the milk to 88°F.
4. Take the pot off the burner. Add the rennet and slowly stir it in with a slotted spoon in an up-and-down motion for approximately 30 seconds.
5. Cover the pot and let it sit for 10 minutes. It should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curd (solid) and the whey (liquid). If the curd is too soft or the whey is too milky, let it sit for a few more minutes.
6. Cut the curd with a knife that reaches the bottom. Do this by making many vertical, horizontal, angled cuts through the entire curd.
7. Put the pot back on the stove and slowly heat it up while stirring the curds with the slotted spoon. Heat to 90°F.
8. Take the pot off the burner and stir slowly for 2 to 5 minutes. More stirring will make firmer cheese.
9. Pour off the floating whey.
10. Time to stretch the curds! See below for stretching instructions.
11. Form the cheese. You can make the stretched curd into a large ball, or a collection of small balls. You can braid it, or make it into a log, or roll it into a number of sticks. Be creative!
12. Cool the cheese by submerging it in the bowl of refrigerated water. Leave it there for 15 minutes, then put it into the bowl of water that was placed in the freezer for 2-5 minutes, or until thoroughly chilled. This cooling step is important to keep the cheese from becoming grainy.
STOVETOP (WATERBATH) TO STRETCH THE CURDS
(You can do this with half the curds at a time.)
- Heat a pot of water to 185°F.
- Ladle the curds into a colander, folding them together gently toward the center and draining off the whey as you go.
- Dip the colander with the curds in it carefully into the hot water a few times, then use the slotted spoon to fold the curds back into the center of the colander until they become stretchy. This will happen when the curds reach 160°F to 170°F.
- Put on gloves!
- Remove the curd from the colander and stretch it like taffy. If it does not stretch easily, return it to the hot water bath.
- At this point you can add cheese salt, if you like. Then stretch the curd by pulling it like taffy until it is soft and shiny. The more you work the cheese, the firmer it will be.
This recipe is adapted from culturesforhealth.com. Culturesforhealth.com is where I source liquid animal rennet and citric acid, along with other cultures.