If you are new to cheese making, please read Beginning Cheese Making carefully. Mozzarella is a challenging cheese and should not be attempted as your first cheese. I do not yet consider that I have perfected my mozzarella to approach that which I have had in Italy, but the following recipe is makes a fine tasting, tender, succulent approximation. Of course, they make theirs with water buffalo milk, which HAS to make a difference.
The critical step is to get curds acid enough to “spin.” I have had problems getting it to spin in the past, mostly (I believe) because the curd had not acidified enough. This recipe makes delicious mozzarella when proper spin is achieved. When it hasn’t spun, the cheese is still good, but not what I was hoping for… I am eager to hear any improvements which you may offer to improve the process and/or product.
- 1 gallon fresh milk
I use goats’ milk. The classic Italian calls for water buffalo milk (!), but cow’s will do.
- 3 Tbl fresh yogurt starter (Dannon plain)
- 3 Tbl fresh cultured buttermilk
- 1 tablet Junket rennet
- Stainless steel pot with cover (about 1.5 gallon capacity)
Sterilized by boiling a small amount of water until steam rushes out from under the lid
- Dependable thermometer, range 0-100°C (32 – 212°F)
- Long bladed knife for cutting curd
- Table knife for finishing the cutting of the curd
- Shallow glass baking pan
- Slotted spoon
Ideally, when freshest mozzarella is cut, the thin “onion-like” layers of stretched should be visible, surface smooth and tight and a texture between rubbery and soft. The “onion” layers disappear after less than a day after making.
I believe that the problems I have had making mozzarella are primarily due to insufficient acidity in the curd. The result is a tough, rubbery mozzarella.
You may know that the classic and simple Neapolitan service of this delicious cheese is to slice it, and serve on slices of fully vine-ripened tomato slices, drizzled with olive oil and then balsamic vinegar, and finally sprinkled with fresh basil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
For further information, see:
Kitchen Cheesemaking by Lue Dean Flake, Jr, Stackpole Books, (1976), p. 72.
“Mozzarella,” in La Cucina Italiana, Vol 2, p. 36 (August 1997)