It turns out, I’ve been making mozzarella cheese all wrong!
For YEARS I’ve been the traditional recipe I shared with you. And if I were to be honest, it kinda makes me hate making cheese. It’s a whole lot of timers and temperatures and morning-long fussing over a steamy pot of of milk before leaving it to drain and acidify enough to stretch.
Somewhere around 9pm, I lose my temper, muttering and whining after remembering that I’ve got curds sitting there waiting to be stretched when all want to do is put my feet up and now it’s going to be at least another hour before I can.
And while I’m being honest, that’s probably the number one reason why I stopped making cheese.
Sure I blamed the baby, but she’ll be a year and a half old this summer. Not really a valid excuse any longer, is it?
So when we quit offering the herdshare a couple months ago, I found my fridge slowly filling up with the milk we had been “sharing.” With a scowling and ungrateful heart, I saw cheesemaking once again my to-do list.
When I heard a rumor that there was a new e-book hitting the market called Cheesemaking Made Easy, I wondered if it would live up to its promise and help me simplify the cheesemaking that was desperately needing to be done.
So with two gallon sized mason jars full of hope and a pinch of skepticism, I read the book.
It is really well put together, easy to understand (Which if you’re a beginning cheesemaker, that’s really important! I’ve read some cheesemaking books that make my brain hurt they’re so complicated.), and best of all this book is inspirational!
Here I was not even a beginning cheesemaker, perhaps even a cheesemaking hater, wanting to make cheese! All of the basic recipes were covered and then some! I love that Dina teaches us how to make various cheeses that are staples to our diets & recipes- not strange foreign ones that we’ve never heard of till reading the book. Who wants to go through all of that for a cheese that you don’t even know what it will taste like (or should taste like) and that you won’t know what to do with?
Among the cheeses covered in Cheesemaking Made Easy are:
• Cream Cheese
• Cottage Cheese
• Whey Ricotta
• Milk Ricotta
• Feta Cheese
• Fromage Blanc
• Queso Blanco
• Monterey Jack
• Pepper Jack
But then she goes even further and shares recipe for other dairy goods such as butter, kefir, sour cream, ghee, creme fraíche, and yogurt.
She helps you build upon your skills by starting with the easy recipes and working up to the more difficult ones that involve presses and aging.
Yeah, but what about that mozzarella recipe?
I mean she used phrases like, “Mozzarella is an Italian cheese which is quick, easy and fun to make,” and “Mozzarella cheese is also one of the easiest soft cheeses to make! I have found that the process of making Mozzarella cheese is very forgiving.”
That certainly hasn’t been my experience!
So while it’s all well and good to have an attractive, sensible, and inspiring book, but if the recipes don’t turn out, I might as well have saved my self the time and just fed the milk straight to the pigs.
With a leary eyebrow raised, I dumped the milk into the pot and made some mozzarella.
An hour later I was squealing.
Not only did I not have to keep remembering to come back after I walked away, but I was standing there with beautiful smooth balls of stringy, squeaky, chewy, delicious mozzarella cheese! IN AN HOUR!!!!!!
I went to bed that night exactly when I wanted to!
Not only was the recipe so good, but it was so simple and uncomplicated that I was able to teach Hannah, my 11 year old, how to make it without fear that she’d get all the way to the end and mess it up and not only would we have lost the ingredients, but the time too.
I’ll let her show you that cheesemaking really can be easy! Check out this video of her making mozzarella-
Traditional Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 gallon milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons citric acid
- ¼ teaspoon non-GMO rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
- ⅓ cup salt
- Dissolve the citric acid in the milk and heat it to 88 degrees.
- Stir in the dissolved rennet water, slowly, until curds form.
- Heat the curds to 110 degrees, strain them from the whey.
- Knead the curds like dough to remove excess whey.
- Heat the whey in the pot to 150 degrees. Stir in ⅓ cup salt.
- Dip the curd in batches into the hot whey.
- Warm and stretch them until they are super stretchy.
- Heat it once more and work it into a ball.
- Run under cold water to chill and then wrap in plastic wrap.
Have you learned to make cheese yet?