Mozzarella – Click for printable PDF version
– HOW TO MAKE MOZZARELLA CHEESE –
- 2 gallons raw milk, start at 40-50F (fridge temp)
- 2 ½ teaspoons citric acid powder (OR 1/2 cup lemon juice + 1/4 cup ACV) in ¼ cup cool water
- ½ teaspoon liquid rennet or ¼ rennet tablet in ¼ cup cool water
- ½ cup salt in 1 gallon 170F water
- stainless steel pot
- 2 wooden spoons
- long knife
- cutting board
- cheese mold
- liquid measuring cup and spoons
Yield: Approx. 2 pounds of cheese
Mozzarella cheese is best made from raw milk (pasteurizing inhibits the cheesemaking process).
- Dissolve citric acid powder in cool water. Pour it into cool milk and using a whisk, stir gently for two minutes to disperse well. (Use only citric acid powder and the milk must be cold temperature.)
- Heat the milk to 88 degrees F on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. When 88F, remove from heat. Try to keep the temperature in the room warm so that the pot does not cool down too much.
- Dilute rennet in water. Gently stir rennet into milk using whisk for 15-20 seconds with a top to bottom and clockwise motion. Stir the top for another 10-15 seconds to make sure the cream doesn’t separate.
- Allow the milk to remain still for 15 minutes while it coagulates. Check the firmness of curd (see photo on right). Insert a finger or knife at an angle and lift up. When the curd is ready, the cut will be clean and firm (not jagged or soft).
- Cutting the curd: Using a knife, cut the curd following the illustration at right. The curd should cut easily and hold shape without falling apart. (If it falls apart, stop and wait a few more minutes.)
- Let curds remain undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Apply low heat and stir gently with a wooden spoon so as to keep curds separated. Slowly heat curds to 108 degrees F within a 15 minute period. Shut off heat and continue to stir for an additional 15-20 minutes. The curd will shrink as the whey is expelled from them in this step (and can be stirred easier as they get smaller). Using your hands to break up the large curds is acceptable in mozzarella making (not acceptable for hard cheeses) and may speed up the process. The curds are ready when they all start to mat together. To test, pinch a piece of curd. The curd should be elastic and not burst open.
- Drain curds, by pouring them into a colander with a pot underneath to collect the whey for ricotta. Set aside whey pot and put colander in the sink or in a large bowl. Flip the curd once to help knit together the curd into one mass, then let drain for 10-15 minutes.
- Mix ½ cup of canning salt in one gallon of water and heat to 170 degrees F. Stir to dissolve salt.
- After letting the curd set and while the water is heating up, move the curd to a cutting board and cut every one inch into long strips. [see diagram at right] Lay strips on their side and cut again in one inch strips.
- When the water is to temperature, remove from heat and place somewhere with lots of head space for pulling the curd.
- Carefully place the strips in the pot one at a time until all of the curd is in the pot. Using one or two wooden spoons, slowly lift the curds upward use gravity to stretch the curds into mozzarella cheese. The cheese will begin to get stringy/ropy and will become shiny. Stretch for up to 10 minutes or until all of the lumps are stretched out and the cheese is in one mass lump.
- Remove the cheese from the water into a mold* or bowl. The cheese can be shaped into small balls or a braid at this time. Then place the cheese into cold or iced water until the cheese is cold and firm textured (a few hours, can be refrigerated). It is now ready to eat!
- When cool, the cheese can be stored in a container or bag. For a firmer cheese, pat dry, cover outside with a thin layer of salt, then wrap in waxed paper.
*Any food grade plastic such as a cottage cheese container with holes poked in the side will make an excellent mold. Plastic-free people can choose to just cool cheese in a glass bowl surrounded by water.
This cheese will taste good for a week, but also freezes well, so it is recommended to only keep out the amount that will get eaten fresh within a few days and immediately freeze the extra. Mozzarella freezes well as whole rounds or cut slices. A convenient method is to shred the cheese and lay out on a baking sheet with wax paper underneath. Place in freezer for an hour or two, then remove and break up the frozen cheese into little pieces. Store in a sealed container (plastic gallon bags work well).
Recipe for making ricotta from the whey: https://fankhauserblog.wordpress.com/1982/02/22/ricotta-cheese-making-illustrated/
Notes & Tips on
- Why is “raw” milk best?
- Full fat provides flavor, color, and texture (low fat makes the cheese rubbery, translucent, dry, and tasteless).
- Raw milk has all the enzymes intact for proper digestion.
- Whole milk contains Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, fat soluble vitamins A/D/E/K
- Whole milk is a complete food. You can skim the milk for a “dieters” meal, but then you lose the fat soluble vitamins and the benefits of “healthy” fats. A neighbor recently mentioned that her husband’s overall cholesterol had dropped significantly in the past 3 months since drinking fresh milk and cream and the good cholesterol had gone up!
- Heat kills enzymes and destroys vitamins
- Heat damages the calcium phosphorus bond necessary to humans for absorbing calcium and necessary in the cheesemaking process for the creation of curds.
- If you must use pasteurized milk, you can add direct set cultures to improve flavor and calcium chloride to improve yield.
- Do not use ultra pasteurized milk, it’s not worth the low yield, if you get any yield.
- Further heat processes damage the milk
- Breaks up the butterfat into tiny particles (so they will no longer rise to the top and separate from the milk, for a consistent “white” appearance), but the tiny particles cannot be held in by the protein bonds.
- Do not ever use homogenized milk, it will not form into cheese.
CITRIC ACID –
- Look for labels that say 100% pure and Made in the USA
- If you do not want to use citric acid, you can experiment with lemon juice
- Or, you can add ½ teaspoon direct set culture OR ¼ cup fresh mother culture and let set several hours
- Beginners can use a Junket tablet from the store (most stores carry Junket near the jello/pudding)
- Calf rennet is the most reliable rennet and does not leave residual flavor.
- Pure calf rennet is made from the fourth stomach of calves that have only had milk and is “true” rennet.
- The secret you don’t hear about “vegetable” rennet is that it is actually a genetically modified microbial mold.
- Use the purest you can find to avoid off flavors or colors
- Salt is a preservative and taste enhancer. Without salt, the “shelf life” of cheese is very short (a few days).
Whey Protein is high in Amino Acids, “whey protein” drinks are intended to be highly nutritious, but the fresh whey has the enzymes intact for proper digestion.
Where does the color come from?
- WHITE = casein (protein)
- YELLOW = keratin (butterfat)
More on Mozzarella:
- No Citric Acid? You can also acidify the milk by adding a 1/2 teaspoon of culture and letting the milk sit in the fridge overnight before starting the recipe. Start at step 3.
- Lemon juice can be used in place of citric acid – David Asher’s book (The Art of Natural Cheesemaking) contains a good recipe for lemon Mozzarella. I tried it and it came out successful & very tasty!
- Pasteurized milk? Even so, adding calcium chloride is not recommended for mozzarella, as it can affect the stretching process.
- Can’t eat it all right away? Mozarella freezes well. Try freezing a whole round, or cut into slices, or shred first and lay out on a baking sheet with wax paper underneath. When frozen, take off sheet and break up into little pieces. Store in a sealed container.
- My recipe is a close variation from the Instraella Mozzarella recipe! Come to a class and find out how it’s different!
- Any food grade plastic such as a cottage cheese container with holes poked in the side will make an excellent mold.
WANT TO SEE HOW THEY MAKE MOZZARELLA IN ITALY? http://www.mozzarelladop.it/index.php?section=prodotto&index=1 And then go to something like Google Translate to have the webpage translated to English. My parents visited there in 2009, and it was a highlight of their trip!