Mr. Owl, how many ....

Posted by Jimmy | | Posted on 10:30 PM


... times does it take Jimmy to get making mozzarella cheese right? 

The answer is ... One..... Two ..... THREE!!!  Yep, That's right it took me three times to get it right.     After failing at my hand pulled noodles, I wasn't about to post another failure!  I had to get this right!

I fell in love with buffalo mozzarella ever since I worked in on the line at Rainforest Cafe back in 1999.  It has such an amazingly soft texture and the taste is so pure and milky that if you haven't tried it before, you should. 

Since I don't have any buffalo to milk in my backyard, I had to settle for cows milk.  My first try was with store bought whole milk.  Pasteurized and Homogenized.  When I failed using that milk, I scoured the Internet for reasons why I failed.  Some blogs stated that the Homogenization process deprives milk of natural calcium content, that I should add some calcium chloride or use raw milk.  The cheese came out to be a little like glorified cream cheese. 

I wasn't about to use calcium chloride (that just doesnt' sound tasty to me) so I went in search of Raw Milk.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to find.  I did a search on google for where I could find raw milk in the East Bay area.  I got a few hits at natural food stores and then I saw that Whole foods carries a brand from Straus Family Creamer can be used.  I'm sorry but I don't remember the websites that i used my research in.  Straus has a pasteurized un-homogenized milk for $4.39 per half gallon at whole foods.   I figured it'd be worth it especially if I succeeded.

So, here comes the 2nd try.  I thought I did fine with making of the curds but it wasn't like how people explained.  The curds should look like soft tofu when mine looked like stringy ricotta.   Well, the second batch looked like it was stretching and I tried to incorporate the first batch with the 2nd batch.   WRONG!  It became one huge mush.  I tried to add more acid to coagulate the curds a bit.  It became so broken up that I KNEW I absolutely failed there.  2 batches down the drain.

I wondered, What am I doing wrong?  Why doesn't my curd look like the videos that I'm seeing? Well partly because one of the recipes I was following told me the rennet would take 5 minutes to set. I got impatient and thought my rennet wasn't working. So I added more and more acid. Turns out all I had to do was wait 40 minutes not 5!  The video below helped me the most.  Take a look at it.  

Okay!  Enough Talking!

My Third try was a success!!!!You can see my curds look like soft tofu! The Video helped me heat and work the cheese too.  Here is the recipe.

1 gallon of pasteurized un-homogenized milk
1 1/2 Tsp of Citric Acid Mixed with 1 cup of un-chlorinated water
1/4 Rennet Tablet  Mixed with 1/4 cup of un-chlorinated water
1 bottled water.  (for my un-chlorinated water
sea salt to taste.

In a 5 Quart Heavy Bottom pot mix the milk and the acid and slowly bring it up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  I used a meat thermometer hanging from one of those binder clips.  (multi-tasking at it's best, Alton Brown would be proud)  When the mixture reaches 90 degrees add the rennet solution and gently stir to get it incorporated.  DO NOT over mix.  Mix once or twice then take it off the heat, cover and let it sit.  Wait 40 minutes and you''ll get a solid custard like curd.  Cut the curd into 1/2 inch cube as best you can.  stir and break up the curd some and you can remove the curd and let the whey drain out. 

Put the curds in a microwave safe bowl and set it on high for about 1 minute.  Drain the the liquid, mix with a spoon and put it back into the microwave for 30 seconds.  You'll continue to do this 2 more times for 30 seconds in the microwave until the cheese becomes almost too hot to touch.  Once you can stretch and knead the mozzarella you'll see that it'll go from being grainy to being glossy and smooth add your salt to incorporate it in.  Congratulations you have mozzarella!

I suggest eating it warm.  If you put it in the refrigerator it's not as tasty.  Use it for pizza, it will be delicious. 

I'll leave you with the two videos that helped me the most.  Hopefully it'll save you guys some heartache.  I will be perfecting my technique.  This isn't the last of me!

The first Video helped me make the mozzarella.  The second video I got the idea for tying it.  Good luck, have fun and don't give up!  - Jimmy