Monday, August 29, 2016

From the fine dining department: making mozzarella, part two

For some reason I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to make some more mozzarella.

The first time, in an excess of culinary fear of failure I got some ready made curd from Golden Age Cheese and the mozzarella turned out pretty well for the first effort of a tyro.

So I decided I was going to make the stuff from scratch this time. I got a gallon of milk and the other necessaries-citric acid and liquid rennet, both of which you can find at Whole Foods.

The effort was a miserable flop. The curd wouldn't pull and stretch, and what was produced was inedible. So going on the usually reliable presumption that the last person who messed with something is usually to blame for failures, I tried again, only to come up with the same result.

After a rethink I had pretty much figured out that the problem was super market milk that was too highly pasteurized and homogenized-not a bad thing when there are kids in the house, but not suitable for cheese making.

I started looking around and found that I could get a five pound block of curd from Shy Brothers Farms which I ordered. Along with shipping the vacuum packed block of curd cost me $61.00-not cheap but when you figure it's equivalent to five gallons of milk it brings the price down a little. There's another house (DiBruno) that sells ten pound blocks of the stuff but that may have to wait a bit. I'll have to find a local dairy that sells non homogenized minimally pasteurized milk for my next scratch effort.

So....we begin. First, don't use chlorinated tap water and don't use iodized salt.

I figured the block could be cut in half and put in a nice Hefty container in the fridge.

Cube the curd into one inch cubes and bring it to room temperature. I put it into the microwave to take the chill off it but in my failed efforts using the microwave for any more than that looks too contrived and tends to overheat the curd.

In the meantime make up a saline bath of salt water and put it in the fridge to chill. You can use ice cubes but here's a tip. Don't use chlorinated tap water. I know I said it before but just don't do it.

Carefully pour hot water (about 165 deg) over your curd and work it in. I know they say use aspatula but you can play with your food if you're wearing rubber gloves. Once it gets stretchy enough you can mold your curd into spheres and drop them in the cold salt water. This stops the cooking process.

There are plenty of videos on youtube that'll show you what to look for but there's also this

The Shy Brothers stretching curd has a nice buttery aroma to it and although next time I'll use more hot water it still came out OK. Half the block of curd produced about five nice balls of mozzarella.

Now to try some with a bit of olive oil, some oregano and maybe over the top of some fresh tomatoes.

Bon appetit, y'all.


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