I’m not really sure what possessed me to take on cheese making, but I’m glad I did.
It must be the tomatoes. There’s something about tomatoes in late July that have the ability to make a person temporarily forget how obscenely hot summers in the Northeast are. And although a sprinkling of salt of pepper is all a late July tomato really needs, to call it a meal, would just be a matter of tossing in a few slices of fresh mozzarella.
Making mozzarella from scratch is super easy, and takes about 30 minutes. The only catch is, the two ingredients needed to make it, rennet and citric acid, have to be ordered from a specialty cheese making shop. Both items cost about $6 each, totaling not much more than the cost of a 1 lb. ball of premium fresh mozzarella. If you are in my neck of the woods, stop over and I’ll give you some of mine!
basic recipe from Ricki Carroll’s “Home Cheese Making”
What you will need:
1 Gallon of pasteurized milk (not ultra-pasteurized) Here is good place to try local raw milk.
¼ tsp Rennet dissolved in ¼ cup cool water
1 ½ tsp Citric Acid dissolved in ¼ cup cool water
Pour the milk in a large pot and heat on medium-low. When the milk reaches 55 degrees, add the citric acid and stir well. When the milk reaches 88 degrees, it will start to curdle. This took about 8-10 minutes on medium low heat.
When it starts to curdle, stir in the rennet. Check the temp of the milk. Bring it to 100 degrees, and then turn the heat off.
Curds will start to pull away from the side of the pot.
They whey should be clear, if it is milky, continue heating for a few more minutes.
Drain the curds using a large sieve or colander. Try to get as much of the liquid out as possible. Scoop the curds into a microwave safe casserole dish. Again, try to pour out the whey.
Microwave the curds for 1 minute. Put on your rubber gloves and knead the cheese, and pour out the whey.
Microwave for 35 seconds and knead again, Pour again.
This is the last time, promise! Microwave for 35 seconds, knead the cheese and pour out the whey.
Yay! Here you can add a pinch of salt and knead into the cheese.
Now, it should be smooth and elastic and resembling something you might pick up at a specialty cheese shop. Roll into balls and store in the fridge.