Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to Make American Mozzarella Cheese

I'm excited and pleased to announce that I have finally been able to produce Mozzarella cheese. Mind you, it's fresh cheese made at home. I can control the dairy and the ingredients. Daggumit...I can make it. Isn't that cool? Now why would I make it if I can just buy it at the store? Hypothetically...I could. Just like the rest of the world, but there is something fantastic about being able to take a raw ingredient and make something out of it. I adore the freedom that it gives me to know that no matter what the circumstance, if I have milk...we can have cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese and yogurt. If you missed any of those posts on Homemade dairy, they are a good read. They are also wonderfully instructive picture tutorials on some of that homemade dairy basic stuff. I started making homemade dairy when we had some friends drop off several cases of dry milk powder. They had no idea what to make with the dry milk...and I was a full time stay at home mom on a very tight income. I saw all kinds of possibilities, and I learned quickly. Needless to say, as things have become less tight, I've relaxed on my cheese making. However, the nagging question at the back of my mind has always been lingering on other cheeses. Could I make pizza for my kids or lasagna if all I had was milk powder* and some flour? Could you?! This has been my quest, not only for myself, but for anyone who may be anxious to learn a new skill. I'm passionate about learning and trying new things. Cheese is the next step...in many steps.

Tutorial Tuesday today is American mozzarella. This is the cheese commonly used on American pizza. It is made using citric acid for acidification instead of bacterial fermentation as in other cheeses. It is very elastic, melts well and strings when hot. It makes great American Pizza.

This recipe was created for Junket by Dr. David B Fankhauser, PhD Professor of Biology and Chemistry University of Cincinnati Clermont College. Dr. David is very smart. I bow to his mighty large brain.

You will need:


1/2 Junket Rennet Tablet

1-1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 gallon milk whole milk for a richer flavor or skimmed milk for low calorie cheese*
( Note: I have been very successful using dry milk powder* dissolved in water for all my dairy making, but Dr. David Fankhauser does not recommend it usually.)

Equipment: Large 2 gallon pot, one gallon bowl, 8 inch strainer and cheese cloth. 1 quart more of water and 1/3 cup of salt.

Warm milk over gentle heat 88ºF (31ºC). Temperature is important so use a thermometer and watch it carefully!

If you have never seen a rennet tablet, let me introduce you to my friendly neighbor hood Junket.

It takes half a tablet to make a batch of mozzarella.

This next ingredient is granulated citric acid. If you don't know where to find it, look in the home canning section of your local Wal-Mart or contact my friend Troy down at Preparing Wisely. He said there would be some in the store (hopefully today). A little goes a long way and I assure you...it is well worth keeping around if you plan on making cheese on a regular basis.

Dissolve 1-1/4 tsp. citric acid powder in 1/2 cup cool water.
Dissolve 1/2 Junket Rennet Tablet into 1/4 cup cool water. Stir thoroughly into warmed milk
mixture. When it set about 30 minutes it looked like this:
Let set undisturbed for 1-2 hours, until a clean break is achieved. It will come clean when you cut into it. Cut curd into 1/2 inch cubes.

Put the curds and whey in a large 2 gallon pot. I usually heat just two minutes and remove from the heat. Warm the curds and whey over low heat, stirring gently to warm evenly and keep the curds separated until temperature reaches 42º C (108ºF). When the pot is off the heat, it is easier to Hold at 42ºC for 35 minutes, stirring every five minutes to keep curds separated and off the bottom. This temperature is a "no brainer" in Arizona during the summer. In fact, I can put the pot outside on my patio and it stays perfect for the duration of this step. At any rate, while it is held at that temperature, get your remaining equipment ready. While it heats, get your strainer and a one gallon bowl...

Cloth to line the strainer is pivotal for good cheese. I use a fine cotton instead of the store purchased "cheesecloth". I find it not only costs me nothing...but it is much better for cheese making at retaining all the curd. This cotton I drape over the strainer.

Pour the curd into the cloth and twist the top of the cloth closed.
This is an 8 inch sieve over a 1 gallon container, let drain for 15 minutes. The whey will separate from the curd.

After 15 minutes it will look like this:

Now you need a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Set it aside. Get your one tsp of salt. Put the curd in a bowl.

With very clean hands, break up curd. Then mix in 1 teaspoon salt thoroughly.

Place 1 cup of salted curd into 2 cup glass measure. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. You will also need to put 1/3 cup salt into 4 cups of water to make the brine for the cheese. This salt needs to be dissolved.
Remove cheese curd from the microwave. Separate hot curd from container with the back of a fork, knead with hands to distribute heat evenly. Use caution, as it can become very hot.
Heat again for 20 more seconds. Stretch and fold to make smooth and elastic shape into a soft ball.
Drop into cold, salted water (1/3 cup salt per quart), let sit in refrigerator for a day, store in an air tight container. Use within a week.

Again, I can't take credit for this amazing process. This recipe was created for Junket by Dr. David B Fankhauser, PhD Professor of Biology and Chemistry University of Cincinnati Clermont College http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/CHEESE.HTML . I, Chef Tess, am but a faithful follower of Dr David. Thank you for all you do!

To see more delicious recipes and products visit the Junket web site http://www.junketdesserts.com/ and if you do remember this little tidbit...

Redco Foods AKA Junket wrote me an email. Here's what they said, "Currently we have a promotion running that with your first order you will receive 50% off (before shipping) using offer code JKT5006. We would be delighted if you posted this recipe on your blog. Have a great day!"

So, there you go folks. Make some cheese! I want to hear about your experiences.


aswesow said...

Neat...how much cheese does a gallon of milk make?

Chef Tess said...

I've been yielding between 8 and 12 ounces.

bonnie said...

Hurray........this is now on my "to do" list.

LizardQueen said...

What brand of powdered milk were you using? I haven't been able to get this recipe to work with pasteurized milk from the store, so I'm wanting to have a go with milk powder.

Chef Tess said...

I've been using the GV brand from...Wal-Mart. Very fancy.

The Krunchy Krab said...

This is a long shot - but have you ever heard of (and do you know how to make) Danish mozzarella?
The only sources I can find are in Europe or Asia, and I can't find a process to make it myself.
Thanks for your post!

Chef Tess said...

Danish Mozzarella? I'm sorry. I have not. I have a really amazing cheese-making book that I love. It's called "Making your own cheese and yogurt" by Max Alth. The book is older and I found it at an old bookstore. It has some pretty comprehensive details. Do you know what makes your Danish Mozzarella different? Perhaps if I had some idea of it's cream content and texture I might be able to help.

Alice said...

If there is no electricity, can you still make the cheese without a microwave?

Chef Tess said...

You may put it in a solar oven for 3-4 minutes at that point and follow the directions as listed. Great question.

Eric said...

Hi Tess- Can this cheese be frozen? I don't know if I'd be able to use all within a week, and have an idealistic notion to make a big batch and freeze most of it. Thoughts?

Chef Tess said...

Yes. It will crumble when it defrosts, but you can grate it first and then freeze it and it would be perfect for pizza or casseroles.

eatlocaliowa said...

I just finished (at 3:12 AM!! DON'T start cheese at 8 PM!) and my cheese isn't elastic and smooth like yours is...it's more of a crumbly slightly more elastic ricotta...it holds it's shape, but I couldn't get the pretty fold that you did...do you think this has to do with too hot of temp? My stove tends to run really hot and it got over the temp. :( I have one ball in the brine, but the other two I'm afraid to put in because they might be too crumbly!

Chef Tess said...

Oh dear...yes. I'm sorry you had trouble but yes, if it gets too hot it will be crumbly. It's a new adventure. Keep trying.