The most fun part of making your own mozzarella is the stretching process. It’s almost magical to watch the curds become a smooth, elastic mass. And nothing beats its fresh, sweet flavor.
• 2 gallons whole or lowfat milk (cow’s or goat’s milk)
• 2 1/2 teaspoons citric acid powder*
• 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet
• 1/4 cup cool (55- to 60-degree) water
• 8 cups water
• 1/4 cup salt
1. Pour milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and stir in the citric acid, stirring for 2 minutes. Bring the milk to 88 degrees. (It doesn’t matter whether you stir.) Remove the pot from heat.
2. Dissolve liquid rennet in the 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Add mixture to milk and stir for 30 seconds. Cover pot and let stand for 15 minutes.
3. Using a knife, cut the curds into 1-inch cubes and then let stand for another 5 minutes.
4. Heat the curds over low heat, stirring gently to keep them separated. The curds will begin to shrink as the whey begins to separate. Slowly heat the curds to 108 degrees, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and continue to stir every few minutes for 20 minutes longer.
5. Meanwhile, combine the 8 cups of water and salt in a pot and bring to 180 degrees.
6. Spoon the curds into a colander lined with a double layer of butter muslin and let drain about 15 minutes.
7. Cut the curds into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Pour the hot water over the curds; the water should cover them. (The hot water will warm the cheese so it can be stretched.)
8. Using two wooden spoons or your hands, begin to stretch the cheese in an upward fashion, as if you were stretching taffy. Stretch cheese for about 10 minutes or until it begins to get stringy and shiny.
9. Remove the cheese from the water. On a cutting board, continue to knead the cheese as you would bread for 5 minutes to remove excess water. The mozzarella can be served right away or can be refrigerated, covered in water, for up to 3 days. Change the water after a day or two.
* Citric acid powder is available at cheese-making suppliers.
This homemade mozzarella recipe is excerpted from The Home Creamery © Kathy Farrell-Kingsley, and is used with permission from Storey Publishing.
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