Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I made mozzarella!

Dinner

Yes, a few days ago I made mozzarella while trying to download stuff off my laptop hard drive - vacation photos and the like - that needs reformatting. It wasn't easy, but the digital cooking thermometer that I bought earlier has come to be a real help. After hunting down citric acid (about $5) and liquid rennet (about $8), I finally was convinced by others that I did not have to have non-homogenized milk (though I did find a good source of it with South Mountain Creamery at the Waverly and I-83 Farmers' Markets). Homogenized will work so long as it's no more than just "pasteurized" - that is, do not use "ultra-pasteurized" milk or it will not work!

I followed the ridiculously thorough examples at Instructables.com's page on how to make mozzarella. The one and only suggestion I might make for an otherwise excellent tutorial has to do with their Step 16, in which they tell you to heat and knead the cheese until it is pliable. I kept on kneading and heating, and all I got was crumbly cheese. Undaunted, I looked up troubleshooting suggestions on what to do when your mozzarella is in this state, and found the answer: to become stretchy, the mozzarella must be at least 138°F. Instructables.com never mentions this, but keep it in mind when you use their otherwise excellent website to make your own.

Kneading the mozzarella...

...after heating it to 138­­° (ouchie)...

...and rolling it into a big mozzarella ball.

I swear, this mozzarella really is much richer and denser than the store-bought stuff (from a supermarket, I mean). To be honest, I'm not sure if I'll be able to stomach it again, kind of like so many other things I've bought at farmers' markets (strawberries, blueberries, milk, lettuces of many types, etc). I had some mozzarella, basil and tomato slices tonight for dinner. It took me a while to finish just four small slices of mozzarella - they were that filling for me.

9 comments:

Nakiya said...

That's so awesome! I can't believe you made your own cheese!!!!

roopa said...

I've never made fresh mozzarella because the thought of kneading the hot cheese hurts my hands.

Good for you for being brave and making delicious cheese!

And btw I am a fan of South Mountain Creamery's products - their 2% tastes like whole and their skim is like 2% - crazy!

John said...

I forgot to mention that I followed the directions to make ricotta from the whey! Eh, but I've made paneer before, too, with a lemon instead of citric acid and rennet. I have this microwave recipe from Julie Sahni's "Moghul Microwave" cookbook, and I never burn the milk when I use that one.

Firany said...

I think that accidentally you've hit a bullseye in this post. Everything we buy on supermarkets is filled with artificial elements that make the product different from original taste and consistency. It's no secret that all mass producers use cheapest materials to gain more and more money on buyers. We eat what we can eat. Buying from local producers, small farms and little shops would be a good idea here - the food is more expensive. And that is not only because the whole production process is more expensive but because it is more natural. Some natural ingredients are used to achieve better taste and more healthy food. Do not buy food in supermarkets.

Rachel said...

Impressive!

John said...

Thanks!

steph the plumber said...

I always try abd buy locally and not from supermarkets, as i think it is important to build up the local trades.

Normally the food is fresher and nicer any ways!

Sarah said...

I know this was posted a while ago, but where did you track down rennet and citric acid? I am having trouble with that. thanks!

John said...

Sarah: I bought both the citric acid and the liquid rennet at a natural food store. Then I found rennet tablets at Giant (in the jams and jellies and puddings section) for less. Of course. You might also find citric acid - it should be in powder form - at Rite Aid or a similar store.