Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rosie And Marion Attempt Mozzarella.

Back in August, I attempted, rather lamely at that, to make Mozzarella. So with Marion's help, I'm giving the the Mozzarella another go. Hooray! This time I didn't end up with ricotta. I still didn't get the taffy-like stretching though. But it's much better than the first time. Any cheese makers out there, feel free to jump in at any time. I dissolved 1/4 rennet tablet into 1/4 cup of cool, chlorine-free water and 1 1/2 tsp citric acid in 1 cup cool, chlorine-free water. Last time I used regular filtered tap water. This time I used distilled water. Perhaps that accounts for the ricotta qualities of the first batch. Or it could most likely be my ineptitude.
I added the citric acid mixture to my milk while stirring vigorously. And the book is quite adamant about not using ULTRA-Pasteurized milk, which will not work in this recipe. Apparently the high heat treatment (over 172 degrees) of ultra-pasteurized milk denatures the protein in UP milk. And apparently that particular protein is very important in making proper Mozzarella. The instruction manual was quite vague on this.
Heat the milk to 90 degrees while stirring.
I removed the pot from the burner and slowly stirred in the rennet solution with an up and down motion for about 30 seconds. I covered the pot and left it undisturbed for 5 minutes.
I cut the curd with a knife that reaches to the bottom of the pan, horizontally and vertically. Criss-cross for those of you spatially challenged.
I checked the curd and it's behaving properly. It has the consistency of a custard.
The pot went back on the stove and I heated it to 110 degrees while slowly moving the curds around with my spoon.
I think the first time I made this, I might have stirred a bit too much, thus breaking up the curds. This time, I gently pushed the curds around and allowed them to maintain their curdal integrity.
I ladled the curds into a colander.
I poured the whey out.
I heated another pot of water to 185 degrees. Working with half the curds at a time, I dipped the curded colander into the hot water. After several dips and folding of curds, they're supposed to become elastic and stretchable. This happens when the curd temperature reaches 135. Mine reached 135, but it never became stretchable or pliable.
At least it's not all crumbly.
I added salt to the first cheese ball and worked in some pesto.
I wrapped it in cheesecloth and plastic wrap and refrigerated.
I added salt and soaked, sun-dried tomatoes to the other ball.
Fast forward to Wednesday when I actually tried this. This is the pesto "Mozzarella." Marion - Sorry. I forgot to serve this to you. But trust me. You didn't miss a whole, whole lot.
This is the sun-dried tomato "Mozzarella."
Bottom line? I really want to learn how to make mozzarella. I will admit, this is better than last time when all I could produce was clotted curds and a faux ricotta. My goal is to be able to have an elastic, pullable, stretchable, taffy-like creation. I ain't there yet. At least, this second batch was cohesive. The faux-cotta was very crumbly. The flavor? Not much there with just the cheese so I added the salt and the pesto and the tomato. Tried it on a Triscuit and I can't say my skirt was blown up. What I'll probably do is make a pizza and use it on that. I'm thinking this might be quite good if it melts. (Who knows if this cheese will even melt?) I'm beginning to wonder if my whole milk is overly Pasteurized. That could certainly explain the non-taffy-like issue. There are two methods in the instructions for the Whole Milk Mozzarella recipe. A Microwave Method and a Waterbath Method. The Waterbath Method is the one I've tried twice. There's also another Mozzarella recipe using dry milk and heavy cream and I haven't tried that yet. I was able to master the Parmesan Frico Cups which I royally screwed up, and which I vowed I would do, so I'm challenging myself to make Mozzarella. Notice I said "challenge, not "vow." Would love to hear from any cheese makers out there.

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