I have made mozzarella before using a cheater method, of purchasing Mozzarella curds from Whole Foods, then working them through a boiling brine bath until cheese forms. I’ve been wanting to step up my game and make it from scratch, for quite some time, and never got around to it. After spending a lot of time with pizza making genius Christian of Austin Food Journal fame, and the Antonelli’s of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop fame, in the last few days discussing this process, I finally got my act together.
So, I purchased a gallon of milk this morning from Way Back When Dairy, at the SFC Farmer’s Market downtown.
Then, Christian and I headed out to Austin Homebrew Supply. I know they sold cheese making supplies, because I took a cheese making class through Slow Food Austin, and taught by someone from Austin Homebrew. They were very helpful, and suggested a Mozzarella Cheese Kit, which contains Vegetable Rennet, Citric Acid, Cheese Salt, and Calcium Chloride, enough for 20 3/4 lb batches of cheese.
I followed the rather simple instructions, dissolve Citric Acid and Calcium Chloride in water, and dissolve rennet in water, then started heating up the milk. Once everything was added and brought to temperature, it looked like this:
At this point, I didn’t think it looked the way it was supposed to look, and certainly not like the curds I got from Whole Foods, last year. In fact, the instructions say “if your mozzarella looks more like ricotta (small, loose curds) try another brand of milk”. But, I didn’t want to waist a $7 gallon of milk, so I continued with the process, which involved draining out the whey, heating and stretching the curds and adding salt. As I continued to heat and stretch, the stuff started to resemble cheese a bit more.
So, I continued, until it was starting to look right, then tossed the cheese into an ice bath.
The result, although not salty enough, looks and tastes pretty good. I had some on a tomato and added a bit of salt Not half bad!
From the leftover whey, you should be able to make ricotta, simply by heating the whey to 190 degrees. I tried it and it didn’t work. I’m not totally sure the mozzarella worked like it should have, but the end result is pretty good, so I”ll keep after it.