Saturday, July 2, 2011

Homemade Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

 I've starting trying to make my own homemade mozzarella cheese, with some success, so I'm adding it to the blog. It only takes about 30 minutes to whip some up, and the only things I had to run and pick up was some citric acid, which I found at a local health food store, and some rennet tablets, which you can find in the isle near the jello. I'm getting excited about our tomatoes and basil out in the garden, and can't wait to pair them up with some of this cheese soon! We go through enough of this cheese as it is, with the homemade pizzas we make on a regular basis. My favorite is a fresh Margarita Pizza.

Here's the directions, with a few tips:

1 gallon whole milk
1  1/2 tsp. citric acid

Pour milk in stainless steel pot, or enameled pot, and stir in citric acid, and turn off heat. Do not use an aluminum pot. Put over low/ med-low burner and let warm. Let heat up to at least 95 degrees F. (Use thermometer)

1/2 rennet tablet, crushed and dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water. 

Once milk has reached 95F, pour in dissolved rennet tablet, and stir for at least 30 seconds. Then let the milk sit completely still for at least 3 minutes. The curds should be apparent, and should start adhering to each other. If they don't start coming together, let sit for several more minutes. Using a long, sharp knife, cut through the curds vertically and horizontally, all the way to the bottom of the pot. The curds will be floating on top of the whey, which is a yellowish clear liquid. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curds to a glass bowl, and microwave for 1 minute on high. Using the spoon, or your hands if it's not too hot, press the curds together in one side of the bowl and drain out as much of the whey as possible. Microwave again for 30 seconds. Press the curds again and drain the whey. Place the cheese on a smooth surface and knead together, until it comes together like dough, adding several pinches of salt as you knead it. If it isn't coming together, microwave again for 30 seconds. It should start to become smooth and shiny as you knead it. Roll into a ball and let rest until ready to use, or store in ziplock bag with a salt water solution of about 1/8 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt. Makes one loaf of cheese about the size of a large grapefruit.

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