Mozzarrella Cheese

The following recipe makes a fine tasting, tender, succulent approximation of Italian Mozzarella. The critical step is to get curds acid enough to "spin." This recipe makes delicious mozzarella when proper spin is achieved. When it hasn't spun, the cheese is still good, but not what was hoped for to improve the process and/or product.

Ingredients:

Apparatus:

Procedure

  1. Warm milk to 32C in sterilized stainless steel covered pot.
  2. Meanwhile, dissolve rennet in 1/4 cup water.
  3. Blend yogurt and buttermilk together, add a small amount of milk, whisk into 32 C milk.
  4. Stir in dissolved rennet thoroughly, cover, let sit in warm spot until gelled (clean break); about 45 minutes.
  5. Cut curd with clean knife into inch cubes..
  6. Re-warm to 32 C with stirring, cutting larger chunks of curd into smaller pieces with table knife; let sit 15 minutes.
  7. Pour off whey, add curd to 2 qts cold water to rinse, drain in colander.

CRITICAL STEP FOR PROPER "SPINNING" OF THE CURD:

Let sit at room temperature overnight to develop acidity. The final pH should be 5.3. You can monitor the acidification using pH paper with a range of about 4.8 to 6.2. (It might be ready in only 5-10 hours, but with goat's milk, overnight has works best.  You can tell that proper acidity is achieved when the curd, upon heating, "spins."

Check for proper acidity using the "spinning" technique:

  1. Heat 2 cups water to 85 C.
  2. Drop several chunks of curd in, stir gently with a fork.
  3. Test for acidity by pulling and folding the hot curd.  If it softens and draws into strings ("spins"), and appears glossy on the surface, it is ready. If it breaks when you pull it, let sit several more hours until it does.

Once the curd will "spin", 

  1. Break or cut up the curd into pieces about inch diameter.
  2. Place cut curd back in shallow glass baking pan.
  3. Heat gallon water to 85C.
  4. Pour heated water over the curd, and stir with a slotted spoon.  The temperature of the water should drop no lower than 57C, but should not go above 60C.  As the curd warms, it should become more elastic, and finally "spin."
  5. Press or cut the hot cheese into pieces (mozzato in Italian) and form into balls about the size of a lemon (size depends on how you wish to use it. In Italy, they are most often about 2 inches in diameter). Stretch and fold over and over on itself to form thin layers. The balls should be glossy and smooth on the outside.
  6. Plunge into cold salted water (1 tblspn salt per quart) and store in the refrigerator a few hours to firm up. It may be stored for several days in this brine, but is best when it is freshest.

When freshest mozzarella is cut, the thin "onion-like" layers should be visible, surface smooth and tight and a texture between rubbery and soft. The "onion" layers disappear after less than a day after making.

 

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