Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

30 minute mozzarella

Last weekend, my husband and I hit up The Cellar Homebrew near our place for some cheese making supplies. Since we got a cast iron pizza pan for Christmas to replace our old non-stick Teflon pizza pan, we wanted to try out making pizzas. And what better way to top our homemade pizza dough and pizza sauce I canned from last summer's tomato bonanza than by adding fresh made mozzarella?

I dusted off my old Home Cheese Making book that I've had for years (and never made anything from) and decided to actually use it. Over the years, I've been too lazy to scout out the odds and ends required to make mozzarella, opting for easy homemade cheeses instead.

Since we were busy with other things over New Year's weekend, we went with the 30 minute recipe, rather than the more traditional one. The 30 minute recipe is super easy and goes a little something like this:

1. Mix citric acid into gallon of whole milk (make sure it's not ultra pasteurized or it doesn't work)
2. Heat until warm
3. Add rennet
4. Stir and heat until 100 degrees or so - the curds will magically appear
5. Remove curds with slotted spoon
6. Microwave on high for 1 minute, drain whey and knead with spoon
7. Microwave for 35 seconds, drain whey and knead with spoon
8. Repeat #7 and knead in some cheese salt
9. Eat or store

I was flabbergasted at how easy this was and how quickly it came together. My husband was dubious about the whole process and predicted it would take me an hour and a half at least to have some form of cheese ready to go. Nay sayer, I tell you!

With the cheese all ready to go, we sliced it up and put it on the pizza. It was very good, but not exactly what I expected.

My final thoughts
It certainly wasn't like the fresh mozzarella balls we buy from our favorite market. It wasn't as creamy and looked more like a combo of fresh and the Organic Valley regular mozzarella we buy. I was hoping we would be making caprese salad like crazy, but I wouldn't use it for that. The texture is all wrong.

Would I make it again? Maybe. I think I'd rather try making the longer, more involved mozzarella recipe from the book and see how they compare.

Photographic evidence
Here are some pictures of the process for your viewing pleasure:

Right after adding in the rennet, the curds separate from the whey.

The cheese curds after removing them with a slotted spoon.

Paco, casting a spell, "You must give me all the cheese..."

Melty cheese, right out of the microwave.

The finished product. Note the cheese browned in a rather oddly brown way.

Have you tried making mozzarella? Did you do the 30 minute kind or did you go the traditional route?

This post is part of this week's Homestead Barn Hop and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.


Green Bean said...

Bummer, I was all ready to be inspired and go make some! :P Ever try ricotta? I'd like to give that a shot but as of now, I'm still looking at seed catalogs.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Making ricotta rocks. It's seriously easy and way better than anything at the store.

Julie said...

I'm glad you wrote this. I hate our microwave and try not to use it, though microwaving seems to be the standard for making mozz these days. Thinking I'll give the long way a go and see how that works out instead. :-)

Mel said...

I have made 30 minute mozzarella many times. I love it. It took me a few tries to get the consistency right. The curds can be tricky.....especially if you are using pasteurized milk.

You may try when you are done, to give it a rest in some cold water in the fridge to finish getting solid before you try to slice it up for caprese or on top of pizza.

Just Nick said...

Somehow I couldn't make the "knead with a spoon" part work for me...ended up with boiled-lobster-red hands by the end of it. I recall our melt being a little odd too...but I'd over stretched the cheese and wonder if that had something to do with it.

Hazel said...

I've tried 30 minute mozzarella too, and the texture was wrong- it just wouldn't melt properly. It was more like Halloumi, which I love, but wouldn't put on top of my pizza...
In fact you've reminded me that I was going to try again, adding mint and more salt, and use it as halloumi to see if that was better.

Unknown said...

Here in Australia, I teach 30 minute Mozzarella courses and have made it many times. It never fails to please. I always add a little lipase, and let it mature for a day before using and eating. The flavour is so much better. Here is pictures of one of my courses at Little Green Cheese. I also make many other cheeses but this one is the quickest!

Heather said...

I have made mozzarella what I would assume is the long way, dipping it into hot whey that has salt in it, mainly because we didn't have a microwave to try that way. It took me probably about an hour and a half the first time I did it, but the result was amazing. I kneaded it several times though, to make sure it was the right consistency. And my family loved it, way better than anything we could buy.

Crafty Farmer said...

I have abandoned the microwave because it made the cheese tough. I let the curds separate from the whey for a longer period of time. Then I place them in a separate bowl and heat the whey. And then, proceed with the heating and stretching. Over heating and over stretching can ruin a good mozzarella. We live in a high-altitude, dry climate though so I am not sure if my approach is location specific.....

Panamamama said...

Our micro died a couple of years ago and I've not replaced it so I'll have to find a longer route. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

I don't knead with a spoon, but I actually stretch it with my hands. I wear gloves though because it can be really hot. The longer you stretch it (kind of like stretching taffy) the firmer the cheese will become. Then I drop it into a bowl of ice water to cool off rapidly. If you don't do this it won't stay smooth so it's key. You should check out my cheesemaking challenge I've got going on over at another year without groceries. Each month we'll be making new cheeses.

Anonymous said...

I've used the same recipe several times now..

Also with supplies from The Cellar, funny enough.

Ricki's directions are not quite complete. We modified them as we went along.

I agree with the commenter that over stretching or over heating definitely ruins the texture, and lessens the flavor. I'd give it a few more attempts once you know what you are doing.

I'm also glad to see someone do it without the microwave. We've been trying to figure a way around that.

Living Local Johnstown said...

Honestly, we make Mozzarella ALL OF THE TIME now. All of it is science, and if you can manage to eat mozzarella, I'm sure you can find the right texture for you. Ours had to do with the extra stirring after the rennet addition and when you add the salt (which I'm going to try to add it later). We got our start with the Cheese Queen, and it's good for Ricotta and Mozzarella.

Hazel said...

Rachel, I stretched it with my hands (a la Barbara Kingsolver, where I first saw the recipe) and I assumed I hadn't worked it enough. From what you say, I may actually have been over enthusiastic! I'll try again, thank you.

I'll have a look at your blog too.