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Make Your Own Mozzarella! (Guest Post)

Posted by Hilary on November 13, 2011

This post is brought to you by mi esposo, Kelly! The man taught himself how to make cheese.

You will need:

– large stainless steel pot (“they” say aluminum or cast iron won’t work)
– Strong slotted spoon
– Thermometer that will clearly read between 80-120 F
– 1 gallon pasteurized whole milk
– 1/4 tsp rennet (about 4 drops) or 1/4 tablet if you buy the tablet form of rennet
– 2 tsp citric acid
– 1 tsp salt (optional)

1. First you will want to dissolve your rennet into 1/4 cup cold unchlorinated water, bottled water works, or if you have a brita, etc. that works too. Dissolve your citric acid into 1 cup cold water. Add the citric acid solution and the cold milk to the pot, making sure they are mixed well; this brings the milk up to the right acidity and helps it stretch better later. Heat the milk mixture to 90F, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. As the milk reaches 90F you should notice it starting to curdle due to the citric acid and temp- if it hasn’t started to curdle yet it’s okay to raise the temp to 95F or even 100F. I had to heat mine to almost 105F. After it reaches 90F and has curdled a little, remove it from the heat and slowly add the rennet. Try to mix it in a top to bottom motion for approx. 30 sec. Then Stop! Cover the pot and leave for 5 min.

2. Now it’s time to check the curd. It should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey. If the curd is too soft or the whey is still milk colored let it sit for a few more minutes.
Cut the curd into 1″ to 2″ checker board pattern. Mine looked like a blob so I couldn’t do this- so I just cut it into as small of pieces as I could. You want to use a knife you don’t care about too much cause you have to leave the curd in the pot while you cut it and it will dull your knife. Now place the pot back on the stove and heat the curds and whey up to 105-110F. Take off burner and slowly stir curds for 2-5 min, more time will make a firmer cheese.

3. Now strain your curds from your whey, saving the whey. I did this with a strainer and cheese cloth. Press the curds lightly with your hand, pouring off as much whey as possible. At this time heat your saved whey up to 115-120F. While the whey is heating up put the curds in a microwaveable bowl and heat on high for 30 sec to remove more whey. On a clean surface knead your cheese like bread dough (take off any rings- i found that out the hard way). Microwave 1 more time for 30 secs. and repeat the kneading until the cheese is smooth and shiny. Add salt during this kneading step.

4. At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to stretch like taffy. If not, soak it in the heated whey for about 30 secs. This was my favorite step, it made me feel like a kid again. After you take it out of the whey you should be able to stretch it for about 1 min before it cools too much to stretch, when this happens just put it back in the whey to warm it back up. It won’t soak up any of the whey after its been kneaded so don’t worry about that. I stretched mine 3 or 4 times, the more you stretch it the firmer it gets also it begins to look and act like string cheese. After your last stretch warm it back up and shape it into a ball and place it in an ice water bath to cool. Be sure to eat some before you cool it- it’s awesome! When cold, wrap with plastic wrap and it should last for several days in the fridge.


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