Success! Sweet success. I completed my first edible batch of cheese. Batch #2 of 30-minute mozzarella gave me my cheese confidence back.
Thank you Ricki Carroll for making a recipe that I could follow. I tried her 30-minute mozzarella and followed the recipe as closely as I could understand to do so. The result was two 6-7″ long milky logs of mozzarella eaten at room temperature with olive oil, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. What a snack!
- Good rennet matters. Forget the tablets I purchased from the grocery store. This time I went to Austin Homebrew Supply (for beer making). They had a small section for cheese makers, and I purchased a higher-quality rennet that was vegetable based. I chatted with one of the gentlemen there about rennet and citric acid. He said the rennet I purchased at the grocery store was more for making homemade Jello, not cheese. Also he said all citric acid is created equal (there isn’t a difference in “good” citric acid versus “bad” citric acid).
- Lipase – the first time I followed a 30-minute mozzarella recipe, it did no call for Lipase. This time I purchased a mild flavor Lipase that can be kept for 8 monthsonce opened in the freezer.
- Unchlorinated water – all city tap water is chlorinated. I purchased non-chlorinated water for my receipe.
- Store bought milk – the first time I tried a similar recipe, I spent $8 on fresh, whole milk that I could only find at a famers’ market on Saturdays. This time I used whole milk that was not ultra pasteurized for about $3.44 from the grocery store. Cheaper and more convenient.
- Diluting ingredients – it was interesting how different Ricky’s recipe was when it came to diluting the rennet, lipase and citric acid. All three ingredients required dilution in unchlorinated water for up to 20 minutes prior to adding the ingredients to the milk.
- Cheese spoon – Have a good wooden spoon handy. For this recipe, you reheat the cheese in the microwave and it is insanely hot when it comes out. Also there areoften little pockets of water within the cheese when you start kneading it that will burst boiling water on your hands. I found a wooden spoon was helpful to use for the first minute or so when kneading cheese to prevent scalded hands.
- What do people do with their excess whey?
I have a giant popcorn bowl full of whey liquid. It seems like a shame dumping it down the drain. Ideas I found for whey include making shampoo, smoothies, boiling pasta in it and others. Any ideas?
- At what stage can you flavor the mozzarella?
Now that I have the basics of the recipe down, I’m curious about the appropriate time to add flavors – say garlic, fresh herbs or pepper.
- Is it okay if my Rennet isn’t totally dissolved? This time, my vegetable-based Rennet tablet fourth had soaked for 20 minutes, yet it didn’t entirely dilute in the water. Is this OK?