In my Instructable I'll take you through the process I used to make fresh mozzarella (style) cheese. My inspiration came from this instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Delicious-Homemade... by Ash_Dodge. I did some things just a bit different to see if they would work, and I am happy to say it was a success on all fronts.
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Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients.
For this project you'll need:
4 liters (about one Gallon) of whole milk. Not ultra pasteurized.
1.5 teaspoon of citric acid diluted into 1/2 cup of non chlorinated water.
1/2 teaspoon of rennet (half a tablet) diluted in 1/2 cup of water, again non chlorinated.
Other than some salt for the finish that is it! I'm tellin' ya folks, this is dead simple to make, and the taste is beyond words.
Of course you'll need to use the contents of an average kitchen (stove, pots and the like).
Step 2: Acidify Your Milk.
Slowly warm your milk to about 50 degrees then add your citric acid. Stir gently from the bottom of the pot to the surface for about 30 seconds. Then it is just a matter of bringing the milk up to about 90 degrees. Go slowly over a medium heat. Once you've hit your target temp remove the pot from the heat, add the rennet, stir gently for about 30 seconds, again from the bottom up. Cover and leave it for 5 to 45 minutes. Check for a clean break every 5 minutes or so.
Step 3: Mending Your Curd.
Once you've gotten a nice break you need to mend or cut your curd to release as much whey as you can. I used a long thin blade knife and cut a grid pattern of about 1 inch squares. Then I come in at an angle and make some near horizontal cuts. What ever works for you. Now here is where I have deviated on occasion. I have done this step only making 2 cuts to the curd and it turned out fine. But I have to admit it is way more fun to make the grid cuts.
Then you will move the curds and whey over a medium and bring it up to 105 degrees. Once there hold that temp. and gently stir for 5 minutes. This will release a lot more of the whey.
Step 4: Drain, Strain and Re-heat.
Okay, we are now at the point where we need to remove the cheese from the whey (yes, I'm calling it cheese now and not curds). I used the cool wok strainer I have to move the cheese into my sieve. Here I pressed a bit more whey out and then transferred the cheese to a jelly bag. You could use cheese cloth or just the sieve for this but I had a plan!
Many tutorials call for microwaving the cheese to and internal temp of 135 to start the binding process. I have done that and it worked ok for me but since I only have a 750 watt microwave it took for ever. You have to check every 30 seconds and by the time the thermometer registered the max temp the cheese was already cooling off. So I went old school.
You did remember to save all the whey right?
Well, add about 2 table spoons of salt to the whey and bring it to about 190 degrees. With the cheese in the jelly bag lower it into the near boiling whey. Stuff the thermometer probe into the cheese and watch it heat.
This does a few different things, one, it salts your cheese more evenly, two, it heats the cheese more evenly, three, it actually drives off a bit more whey and the best part is that the whey smells soooooooo good.
Step 5: Make a Cheese Ball and Devour!
Okay, so I didn't take any pictures of me stretching and kneading and folding the cheese but hey, youtube has lots of those. The take away here is that you should wear heavy latex or silicone gloves because this stuff is hot and you will need to handle it a lot. Just knead and stretch it until you get a nice smooth and glossy surface. After that you can divide it into portions and either eat right away, store for up to a week under refrigeration or freeze. I like to keep mine in a tub of the whey in the fridge until I'm ready to use it.
Step 6: Bonus Content!
I told you I had a plan. The whey. This stuff is gold, I thought why not make some ricotta cheese from it? Simple enough, add the juice of a lemon and heat to about 180 degrees for a bit. Well, this batch didn't realize very much ricotta so I decided to can the whey for future use. I used a water bath to can the whey and stored it under refrigeration. It'll be fine for a couple of months this way but once you've tried it you won't have it that long. Try it as a base for a white sauce, or as a soup base. I've even used it for making gravy. You won't regret it.