About a year ago, I decided to try my hand at making fresh mozzarella cheese. Um…not so much. I failed (you can read about my experience here: How To NOT Make Fresh Mozzarella Cheese.) Since then, I have been wanting to try again but feared going through the process and still not ending up with successful cheese. Guess what friends? That time… is over.
A few weeks ago, Old World Market, owned by Chris and Megan Marolf, offered several hands-on fresh mozzarella cheese-making demos. Free culinary education? I’m THERE. Since I love shopping at this store anyway, I made it a point to visit on the day of the demonstration. I am SO happy I did! There were only six people at this particular class so it was extremely personal, allowing plenty of time for questions, discussions and the many “ooh’s” and “ahh’s.” Chris is very personable which made the cheese process look easy and understandable.
Troubleshooting Fresh Mozzarella
In talking with another couple attending, it seemed we both had some of the same issues with failing at cheese:
- I used regular milk I found on clearance at Aldi. He splurged for the fresh, organic milk. Chris just uses regular milk from the local grocery.
- We both used Junket Rennet tablets. Chris uses a vegetable rennet and said Junket isn’t strong enough for cheese making. So, I bought some tablets and recommended keeping them in the refrigerator. Use what is recommended. More is not necessarily better.
- Neither one of us could get the cheese to curdle into chunks. Chris said this was the best batch he has made. He lowered the citric acid to 1/2 t. and said he thought that might have made the difference.
In the end, each one of us had a different looking ball of cheese. Mine was dense and a bit dry, however, I believe it might have gotten overheated at one point. The couple I was talking with had nice shiny fresh mozzarella and the other couple had a ball that kept falling apart. Since we all started with the same mixture, I’m sure the variances either came with the temperature of microwave re-heating or with the process of kneading. I assume those are the steps that will take practice. Either way, I’m ready to try all on my own. How about you? Do you make fresh mozzarella at home?
(If you would like to receive the latest information on classes, wine/beer tastings, events, be sure to like Old World Market’s Facebook Page)
- ¼ Rennet tablet diluted in ¼ c. water
- 1½ t. Citric Acid, diluted in 1 c. water
- 1 gal. Milk
- 1 t. Cheese Salt (or kosher salt)
- Equipment: Large pot, long sharp knife, slotted spoon, thermometer, microwave safe bowl, food grade gloves
- Bring diluted citric acid and milk to 90 degrees, while stirring SLOWLY.
- Turn off heat and add diluted rennet. Gently stir for 30 seconds.
- Cover, and allow to sit for about 5 minutes until it looks custard-like (sometimes it will loosely clump together instead)
- Gently cut curds into 1 inch cubes, cutting all the way to the bottom of the pot.
- Heat to 105 degrees while stirring SLOWLY. The curds will begin to clump together.
- Once 105 degrees is attained, turn off heat and continue to stir for 2-5 minutes.
- Scoop curds from whey, placing them in a microwave safe bowl. Drain and gently press as much whey from the curds as possible.
- Heat curds in microwave for 1 minute. They should be about 135 degrees.
- With gloves on, knead the mozzarella and reheat for 30 seconds.
- Add cheese salt. Knead and stretch the mozzarella. Form into your desired shape and dunk in cold water. If not eating it immediately, refrigerate in cooled leftover whey.