One of the things I’ve been hoping to do more with this new site is to highlight one of my biggest passions in the realm of eats and drinks: cheese. I’ve enjoyed cheese my entire life but lately I feel like I’m starting to act on my passion more. Between finishing my cheese certificate course and trying out several homemade cheese recipes I’m getting increasingly focused on the possibilities with cheese whether that’s consuming artisan cheeses plain, making your own, or using cheese in recipes. Join me each Friday as I cover various topics and recipes related to cheese. I plan to explore not just cheeses made from animal products but their vegan counterparts as well.
For this inaugural Fromage Friday I’d like to share an extremely easy recipe for homemade Mozzarella cheese. Lately I’ve been exploring a lot of the easier recipes for homemade cheese in order to ease myself into the process. This one did not disappoint with its simplicity. It makes use of your microwave of all things to make for a fast and easy process. There are two things worth noting about this mozzarella. The first if you are going to eat it on its own its best while still warm. The second is that I find the texture to be more similar to the American version of mozzarella than the Italian fresh version so it’s worth knowing this going in so you set your expectations accordingly.
Adapted from Home Cheese Making
Note: Measure out additives before you start, in clean glass or ceramic cups. Use unchlorinated water.
-1 gallon pasteurized milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
-1 1/2 level teaspoons citric acid dissolved in ¼ cup cool water
-¼ tsp. liquid rennet diluted in ¼ cup cool water
Stir the milk on the stove in a stainless steel pot, heating very gently. At 55 degrees F add the citric acid solution and mix thoroughly. Continue heating. At 88 degrees F it should begin to curdle.
Gently stir in diluted rennet with up-and-down motion, and continue heating the milk to between 105-110 degrees F, then turn off heat. Curds should be pulling away from sides of pot, ready to scoop out. The whey should be clear. (If it’s still milky, wait a few minutes.)
Use a slotted spoon to move curds from pot to a 2 quart microwaveable bowl. Press curds gently with hands to remove as much whey as possible. Microwave the curds on high for one minute, then knead the cheese again with hands or a spoon to remove more whey. (Rubber gloves help – this gets hot!) Microwave two more times (about 35 seconds each) kneading between each heating. At this point, salt the cheese to taste, then knead and pull until it’s smooth and elastic. When you can stretch it into ropes like taffy you are done. If the curds break instead of stretching, they need to be reheated a bit. Once cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls to eat warm.
To store for later chill the balls by dropping them directly into a boil of ice water and letting them sit for 30 minutes before removing and storing. The ice water helps to maintain a constant texture throughout the balls.