Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Mozzarella Cheese with Goats Milk

Mara kneading the cheese
 This past week we decided to make mozzarella cheese. My parents have been getting a lot of milk lately and they have very generously shared a lot with us. I am so thankful to have a source of good for you, raw, non-homogenized, rBGH (or rBST) free milk! Anyway with extra milk to do something with, cheese sounded like a good option - especially since we had just run out and we love cheese.

I had made Mozzarella cheese once before way back in 2008 so I had a little experience under my belt but this time I wanted to make it using a method that didn't use the microwave as I am trying to use that less.

 I found a couple of recipes (one being in my box of rennet) and I decided to combine the two. It worked pretty well so I thought I would share it with you.
The pan of ingredients sitting and working at separating.

Mozzarella Cheese

You will need:
  • -5 quart stainless steel (or enamel) pot. Don't use aluminum.
  • -A measuring cup.
  • -Thermometer that measures from 20 to 220 degrees. I got by without one however as mine appears to be broken. I just did some guessing (dipping my finger in) and it worked out.
  • -A long bladed knife.
  • -A thin cotton dishtowel or a clean large handkerchief.
  • -A strainer or colander
  • -A large Container to catch whey.
  • -A bowl that can handle hot water being put in it.

  • -1 gallon milk- I used raw, whole goat's milk but you can also use any type of cows milk, even skim milk (at least that is what my recipe says)
  • -1 1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water. I bought this from Azure Standard. Our health food store also carries it and I guess you can get it at a pharmacy.
  • -1/2 tablet of rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water. (or I think you could substitute 1/2 teaspoons liquid rennet).
  • -Salt

How to make it:
  1. Warm milk over gentle heat to 88 degrees F. Be careful not to scorch.
  2. Dissolve citric acid in water and add to the warm milk. Stir well.
  3. Dissolve the rennet in water and stir thoroughly into warmed milk mixture. Let set undisturbed for 1 to 2 hours, until the curds and whey have fully separated. You want the curds to be somewhat firm. Let it set even longer than 2 hours if necessary, I let mine sit more like 3 or 4 hours.
  4. Using the long knife cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes (do the best you can) by cutting at a slant from 4 different directions in rows across the pan. Be sure to cut all the way to the bottom as that was where my firmer curd ended up being.
  5. Warm the curds and whey (what is in your pan) over low heat, stirring gently to warm evenly and keep the curds separated until temperature reaches 108 degrees F. Hold at that temperature for 35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to keep curds separated and off the bottom.
  6. Collect curds by pouring curds and whey through a fine cloth held in a sieve over a gallon container, let drain for 15 minutes. You may need to hang up the curds as well to truly get all the whey out. (see my picture) Save the whey - you can make Ricotta cheese with it and then save the whey from that too to use in pancakes and baking.
  7. Cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes (I used that term cubes loosely - it really doesn't matter the shape!) and put into a clean bowl.
  8. Heat some water up (to around 170 degrees) and pour it over the curds.
  9. Knead the curds with 2 wooden spoons. As water cools you can knead them with your hands. Continue kneading and stretching cheese until it is elastic and shiny. Form the cheese into a "ball" trying to make sure their are no cracks.
  10. Put the ball into a container already filled with a saltwater brine (1/3 cup salt to 1 quart water). Either add ice to it or store it in the fridge. Leave it in the brine as little as an hour or as long as overnight (the two recipes didn't agree on this and I did overnight but it did make it fairly salty.)
  11. Remove from water and pat dry. Either freeze, refrigerate or eat! Enjoy.

The curds hanging over the bowl full of whey.

 Mara volunteered to knead the cheese. We saved the milky water from this process and I used it in cooking later.
 This is the finished result. Our family thinks it tastes great. It does almost have the texture of already having been melted - it is a pretty firm cheese. I am not sure if I did something wrong to cause that (that did happen the other time I made it as well and my sister-in-law also had this experience when she tried it) but we think it is good anyway. The kids think it tastes like string cheese which they think is better than regular cheese so they want me to make lots more!

Mom just gave us a bunch more milk yesterday so I think I might be making more soon.

   I did try to turn the whey into ricotta cheese - It wasn't that hard but I only got around 1/2 cup so I wasn't sure if it is worth the effort. We did save all the whey left from that which works great in many things. I freeze it to use in the winter when we don't have access to as much milk.

I am linking to:
monday's homestead barn hop

and Clever Chicks Barn Hop

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