Monday, March 15, 2010

Say Cheese!

I had the day off from work today and took full advantage of it. I started by pulling out my copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and attempting (again) to make delicious, home-made mozzarella.

Believe it or not, you can easily make mozzarella in your own kitchen in just thirty minutes. I have tried this three or four times with varying results. I think I nailed it this time.

All you need is a stainless steel pot, a thermometer, pasteurized milk (not ultra-pasteurized), citric acid and vegetable rennet (I found mine at the Seward Co-op). For complete directions, please go to

Heat milk in the pot to 55 ° and stir in citric acid. At about 88°, the milk will start to curdle. Stir in the vegetable rennet.

As it heats, the milk will separate into curds and whey. At about 100°, the curds will start to pull away from the side of the pot, revealing the whey. Turn off the heat and start scooping the curds into a microwavable bowl.
Using your hands, press gently to remove as much whey as possible. Then pour the whey out of the bowl. Heat the cheese in the microwave for about a minute, then knead more whey out. The book recommends using rubber gloves for this part, and I definitely agree! The curds are really hot!

You will knead and reheat it a few more times, then salt to taste. You will need more salt than you think. Then you will knead the cheese some more and pull it. When it pulls without breaking, you are done!

Roll the cheese into balls and enjoy!

Delicious with tomatoes, basil, olive oil and black pepper!

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