I love this mozzarella recipe! I know some of the more experienced cheese folks don't really consider this "real" mozzarella, but I have had good success with it. For a newbie cheese maker that is a definitely a good place to be. It tastes great and is quick to make (most of the time). It melts well on pizza or anything else and is great all by itself. I made some the other day, rolled it into small balls and tossed into a pasta salad.....super yummy!
Make sure the milk you use for this cheese is NOT
--Homogenized milk will work fine.
--Fresh farm milk will also work well but we encourage you to try with 1 gallon of store bought whole milk first.
--Low fat milk will work but the cheese will be drier and less flavorful
You will need:
--A 6 to 8 quart stainless steel pot. Aluminum or cast iron will not work.
--A stainless steel or strong plastic slotted spoon.
--A two quart microwave safe mixing bowl
--A thermometer which will clearly read between 80 - 120 degrees F.
Prepare your work area:
Do not prepare any other food while you are making cheese.
Put all food products away
Move all sponges, cloths and dirty towels away from your work surface, wipe your sink and stove with soap and water.
Finally use your antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all surfaces.
crush 1/4 tablet of rennet and dissolve in 1/4 cup of cool unchlorinated water and set aside to use later.
Add 1.5 tsp. of citric acid (diluted in 1 cup cool water to 1 gallon of cold milk and stir well.
(Add the citric acid solution to the empty cold pot - the photos show adding this dry but do mix with water).
Now pour cold milk into your pot quite quickly to mix well with the citric acid . This will bring the milk to the proper acidity to stretch well later. Next Heat this milk to 90F As you approach 90F you may notice your milk beginning to curdle slightly due to acidity and temp.
NOTE: if having problems with milk forming a proper curd you may need to increase this temp to 95 or even 100F
At 90F remove the pot from the burner and slowly add your rennet (which you prepared in previous step) to the milk and stir in a top to bottom motion for app. 30 seconds, then stop. Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
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 set for a few more minutes.
Cut the curds into a 1" checkerboard pattern (as in photos above) and if a drier cheese is desired carefully cut and stir this curd to release more whey.
Place the pot back on the stove adn heat to 105F, while slowly stirring the curds with your ladle. (If you will be stretching the curds in a hot water bath heat to 110F in this step.)
Take off the burner adn continue slowly stirring for 2-5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese)
Then scoop teh curds with a slotted sp0on into a heat proof bowl to be used in the microwave. (If the curd is too soft at this point let sit for another minute or so)
You will now press this curd gently with your hand, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve this whey to use in cooking.
Next microwave the curd on HI for 1 minute. You will notice more whey has run out of the curd. Drain off all whey as you did before.Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands until it is cool enough to touch (rubber gloves will help since the cheese is almost too hot to touch at this point)
Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each and repeat the kneading as in the last step. Drain all of the whey off as you go.
Knead quickly now as you would bread dough until it is smooth and shiny. Add salt near the finish.
At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to stretch like taffy.
It is ready to eat when it cools.
Form it into a ball and drop into ice water to cool and refrigerate.
When cold you can wrap in plastic wrap and it will last for several days but is best when eaten fresh.
This recipe and others can be found at Ricki's cheesemaking website: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/21.html
I highly suggest checking out her site. She has all sorts of cultures etc. for cheesemaking for sale along with great recipes. She also has a Q&A for all sorts of topics about cheesemaking and even troubleshooting problems. She is definitely the cheese queen!