Monday, October 15, 2012
I was the only person totally unaware that an eight and a half month old little boy literally requires ALL of my time.
We do a lot together.
I paint, he smears, I cook, he eats, I clean, he makes messes.
It's a thing.
You can go ahead and be jealous now.
But let's get down to the reason I just knew I had to come back ASAP.
I made mozzarella cheese this past weekend and believe me, I will be doing it again!
There were about three times that I totally thought I had ruined everything and I had overestimated my abilities in the kitchen...drastically.
I wouldn't be so upset, because well. I ruin things all the time. I'm good like that.
Buuuuuuuuut, I have been preparing for this cheese for months. Searching high and low for these special ingredients.
Wanna guess where I found them?
In my hometown health food store. The LAST place I looked before giving up hope.
Rennet is pesky. Just order it online and save yourself.
Let me just say.
WHAT YOU NEED:
1/4 tablet rennet or junket suspended in 2 tbsp. cool water
1/2 gallon of milk (I used 2% but whole makes a better flavor.)
1/2 & 1/8 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
Yes, that's really it.
Wanna see something delicious?
That's my pizza I made with my fresh mozzarella and some other LAAAAAAME store-bought cheese.
(Don't worry, I'll tell you about this thin-crust sliced heaven soon enough.)
WHAT TO DO:
Warm your milk (in a large stainless steel or enameled pot, don't use aluminum. I used my paula deen pot for this!) to 88 degrees. Stir a lot and don't scorch. Careful warming.
Add your citric acid in water to your warmed milk.
Add your rennet in water to your warm milk mixture as well.
Stir for about a minute.
Let sit undisturbed for two hours until a clean break is achieved.
A clean break is when your stick your finger into the mixture and you break the solid on top without liquid sticking to your finger.
Let me stop here and tell you. This is one of those times I thought I totally ruined it.
Mine didnt quite make a solid on top. I went on with the show anyways. Mine looked like this.
But it worked great, so don't freak out.
Then, cut your curds (the solid top) into squares. Mine were already cut in the picture above.
Warm your curds to 108 degrees stirring frequently, but gently.
Hold at 108 degrees for thirty two minutes stirring gently still.
Then set up a bowl with a strainer over it, place your cheesecloth in the strainer.
Pour the contents of your pot into the cheesecloth.
Let drain. This is how I drained mine.
That gross stuff down there is whey and you can make ricotta with it, but it smelled so bad I got rid of mine...
So once you've let it drain about fifteen minutes or so you can transfer it to a microwave safe bowl and break it all up into large curds again.
Add 1 tsp salt and stir it in.
Microwave it for about 45 seconds in ten second increments.
After each ten seconds, use the back of a fork to work it into a ball again. Pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Take it out and knead it with your hands for a minute or two until it's shiny.
Microwave for fifteen-twenty seconds.
Knead into a ball again and put a little cold water in your bowl. Just enough to roll your cheese in for a few seconds. Take it out and shape it again then put it into a zip-lock baggie and keep up to two weeks. Or just eat it because it's delicious.
I mean, whatever works for you.
It looks more like cheese after being in the fridge for a little while.
(see first picture.)
Posted by alleybee at 9:36 AM