Wow. Best mozzarella ever. So delicate. So pure. And made entirely at home.
Mozzarella can be a complicated thing sometimes. It depends on the kind you're making, apparently. If, for example, you want the more subtle kind that is used in Italy, you need a special kind of ingredient to get the cultures right. However, if you want an easier mozz, then this one will work perfectly.
Note: you can make ricotta from the whey by heating up the remaining whey to 200 F. Let cool and filter particles. Strain, if desired, to achieve varying consistencies. Voila! Ricotta!
Follow the recipe to the letter, otherwise things can go awry. Rennet can be found at many grocery stores, around the jello or baking aisle. Citric acid can sometimes be found there, but it might be easier to check your local health food store and bulk herb section.
Ok, let's get started!
1 gallon whole milk (creates a better flavor and texture)
1¼ teaspoon citric acid powder dissolved in ½ cup cool water
½ tablet Junket rennet suspended in ¼ cup cool water
1 teaspoon salt
1. Dissolve both the rennet and citric acid, separately.
2. Warm milk to 88 F in a large pot on the stove. Turn off heat.
3. Add the citric acid mixture and stir.
4. Add in the rennet mixture and stir.
5. Let sit undisturbed for 1-2 hours until a clean break forms. A "clean break" is when you can stick your finger into the curds and it doesn't stick to you. Clearish whey should fill the hole created. The curds will be kind of like a tofu consistency.
6. Cut the curds in the pot into 1/2 inch cubes, creating a checkerboard pattern.
7. Slowly stir the curds. Then, over low heat, slowly and gently stir the curds and whey (do not mix or incorporate!) until 108 F.
8. Keep heated for approximately 30 minutes at around 108 F. Stir gently every 5 minutes to keep curds separated and off the bottom. (Note: I'm not sure this step is entirely necessary; however, I would still do this if it's your first time.)
9. Scoop out curds with a slotted spoon or similar utensil into a microwave-safe bowl. You may also pour the entire contents of the pot through a fine sieve and let it drain for 15 minutes. Be sure to save the whey for ricotta.
10. Add one teaspoon salt and mix into the curds.
11. Place the salted curd into the microwave for 35-45 seconds. It should be hot enough to barely be able to handle.
12. Pour off any excess whey.
13. Knead with hands to distribute heat evenly. Stretch and fold to make smooth and elastic, shape into a soft ball, pinch, and place in refrigerator to solidify. (This can take a couple minutes to achieve elasticity.)
This will make about 1 pound of mozzarella cheese.