France, which is the cheese capital of the world, is a place that any turophile would love to be abandoned in, or even holiday in, if only for a day. The Italians know their cheese too, and that mind you, is enviable the world over with their mass production amounting to three times more than what France makes! The world may be making cheese that fits the bill, but France and Italy take it one step ahead every single time. Sigh.
So moving on to something more cheesy, you'll find a simplistic method of how to make mozzarella cheese in ludicrously easy steps, that will make you smack your head later when you've accomplished this task.
What is Mozzarella Cheese?
This type of cheese finds its origin in Italy, and is made traditionally from water buffalo milk, with flavors that tease the palate, being rich and absolutely delicious. It is expensive for good reason, and costs a lot more than other substitutes when it comes to shipping. This is where cow's milk comes in, being a cheaper alternative, and, of course, a cost saving means for importers. Water buffalo milk is extremely high in fatty content and casein, and isn't easy to digest when ingested in its raw form. Therefore to make it easy to digest, it's been made into cheese.
The best way to consume this type of cheese is when it's fresh out of the cheese-making process, which is called pasta filata. It's called string cheese because of its elasticity after it has been boiled in either water or whey. It can be molded into tight chewy balls, or sliced into layers, or, of course, eaten as shredded cheese, or melted directly into food, since it can easily attain a soft texture when heated up. The best way to store this kind of cheese is in airtight containers or plastics.
It can be seasoned with herbs, meats, and in some mozzarella preparations, sun-dried tomatoes. It can be coupled with anything, including olives and other meaty delicacies, depending upon the region that makes them. It is also put into a smoking chamber where it is painted with liquid smoke, or just smoked in general. That way the taste is heightened with the flavors intensified like never before. When it's fresh you'll be able to tell from its very elastic-like form when stretched. If it tastes too sour, and is zingy to the bite, then this means that the cheese has lost its freshness, and isn't all that appetizing anymore.
Recipe for Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
The thought of this cheese goes well with the image of freshly baked pizza, bubbling layers of mozzarella, as toppings drown within its stringy grip. This homemade mozzarella cheese preparation will go well as a cheese sauce, although this does tend to harden if not eaten right away, so be a little cautious when doing a pasta dish, since adding this last in a molten heap would do well. Casseroles seem like a better option, since this kind of cheese can encase the top and form a layer that calls for a little toughness. So whichever way you decide to have your cheese, just make sure it's fresh.
What You'll Need
- ½ rennet tablet in a cup of distilled water (¼ cup)
- 2 tsp of citric acid
- ½ teaspoon of flaked salt
- ½ teaspoon of calcium chloride in distilled water (2 tbsp)
- 1 gallon of whole milk
- 1 stainless steel (8 quart) pot
- 1 stainless steel spoon
- 1 microwave safe bowl
Method of Preparation
- Add to the stainless steel pot the one gallon of whole milk, and keep on hand all your ingredients ready for the process.
- Place the pot on the gas, and keep it on a medium flame, and let the heat gradually build within it, without you turning it up all at once.
- Continuously stirring your mixture, first add in your calcium chloride mix, and citric acid. Checking on the temperature, keep stirring until the heat goes up to 88° F, and don't stop alternately stirring this every now and then, to avoid it from burning.
- Once the temperature reaches the aforementioned degree, mix in your rennet tablet and water.
- The next step is to keep stirring this mixture until the heat then goes up to 105° F.
- Turn the gas off, and let the milk do its job as it sits aside for 20 minutes with the lid placed atop. You'll then see the yogurt and whey separate into two obvious layers of white and green.
- Use the stainless steel spoon to strain your milk and pour this into the microwave safe bowl. Strain away as much whey as possible (greenish mass), and if the milk is still runny, let it sit again aside for a few minutes. Strain it completely as you separate the whey, and let this yogurt mix sit in the microwave safe bowl.
- In the microwave, set the timer to one minute on high, and once that is done, strain the yogurt again to remove any remaining whey, attaining a sticky texture as you do this.
- If you still feel that the yogurt hasn't begun to feel sticky, then place it for another 20 to 30 seconds on high again, and then finally remove it from the microwave.
- Then add in your salt, and then knead the cheese gently using a spoon.
- It will turn slowly into a shiny, and smooth mass and has to again be placed in the microwave for another minute on high.
- If there is any remaining whey, strain immediately, and be careful of the cheese as it will be hot to the touch.
- While kneading make a note of how the cheese changes; if it sticks to the spoon and pulls away from the bowl that you're kneading it in, then it's done, if not, keep kneading until you see it do so.
- Once that happens, you can then see a noticeable change in the way it stretches like elastic. You can then pull it about and stretch it, until it is firm and even more elastic.
- You can place this then in an air tight container, or in a vacuum bag, and consume it within a week from refrigeration. It'll last you longer if you place it in the freezer. If you want your cheese soft and not firm, then don't stretch it out too much after you're done kneading it.
I'm sure that after you've gone through the process of how to make mozzarella cheese, you'll tell yourself that this isn't as bad as they make it sound. It's actually a simple process, which only requires apt measurements and perfect timing and temperatures. Have a 'cheesy' day!