Say Cheese

Tasty Tuesday

I went to a soft cheese making workshop about four years ago. The presenter, Heather Carter of Nature Hills Farms, demonstrated a 30-minute Mozzarella cheese recipe. I followed up that class with one of her hard cheese making classes. With all of the many demonstrations she provided, the 30-minute Mozzarella cheese is the only one I even attempted to make. I have even purchased items to move my cheese making art further along, but regretfully I haven’t taken the time. Someday, one of my dreams is to make a cheese cave and perfect my skill of making cheese to my hearts content. Making this cheese gives me a glimpse of that life as a cheese making master. After all, “Blessed are the cheese makers.” ~Monte Python  Right?

Anyway, here is how to make 30-minute Mozzarella cheese. What you need is…

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I have here, a gallon of goats milk, a package of citric acid and a package of cow rennet.

1 gallon Milk (this can be raw or pasteurized; goat or cow…no discrimination here!)
1 1/2 t. Citric Acid (dissolved in 1/2 c. of water)
1/4 t. Rennet (or 1/4 tablet) (dissolved in 1/4 c. of water)
1 t. cheese salt (any non-iodized salt will work)
1/8 or 1/4 t. Lipase Powder (dissolved in 1/4 c. cool water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes, for a stronger flavor) Optional

You will also need a good thermometer one that can measure temperatures past 100 degrees, a slotted spoon, a good large pan.

  1. Add citric acid solution to cool milk 55° F. Mix thoroughly. (If using lipase, add now)
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I have added the citric acid mixture to the milk and its texture has already started to change.

2.  Heat milk to 90° F over medium/low heat. (Milk may start to curdle.)

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3.  Gently add diluted rennet to the milk mixture in an up-and-down motion. Heat the milk between 100-105° F. Turn off heat and move pan to the side. Let set for 5 minutes or until a firm curd has formed.

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The yellow liquid is the whey separating from the protein.

4.  Check the curd; it will look like custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey. If too soft or the whey is milky, let mixture set for a few more minutes.

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I pour off what I can of the whey to make it more manageable.

5. Pour off as much whey as possible then scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a microwavable bowl. Press curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible. You can reserve the whey for ricotta or another cooking recipe requiring liquid.

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This is what the curd looks like after the first microwave step of 1 minute.

6.  Next microwave the curd on HI for 1 minute. You will notice more whey has run out of the curd. Drain off all the whey as you did before. Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands. The cheese is really hot, so I just use the slotted spoon. If you want, you can use rubber gloves. This will help insulate your hands from the hot cheese.

7.  Microwave 2 more times on HI for 35 seconds each. Drain off the whey and repeat the kneading of the cheese in between each microwave step. Add salt to taste as you knead after the last microwave step.

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The more you knead the cheese the more its texture will look shiny…almost like it’s plastic. The cheese will be very elastic, kind of like string cheese.

8.  Knead quickly now as you would bread dough until it is smooth and shiny. After your mozzarella cheese is complete, just package it up in a plastic food storage bag and refrigerate.

A generous gallon of milk only makes approximately 2 cups of cheese. If you have access to raw milk and it comes in an abundance, it is a great way to make use of the extra milk or to process it for longer storage. Making cheese is also a way to be less dependent on stores and in control of what goes into your food.

I get my rennet and other specialty items for making cheese from The Cheese Maker. As always though, you can Google search “cheese making” and find many options.

Now, you can WOW your family and friends with homemade cheese.

Please share if you try this recipe or if you make cheeses and have any tips or recipes to share. Happy cheese making.

 

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