I finally did it! I finally tackled making mozzarella cheese. It's not any cheaper than buying it at the grocery store. Certainly doesn't save time. I'm not sure it qualifies as a raw dairy product because of needing to heat the cheese hot enough so that it will stretch. It can be a little messy. And, it's still probably not the most healthful thing to be eating (especially if you eat it at the rate I have been!). But, it's fun. Satisfying. And, at least it's not an ultra-pasteurized milk product. I've had fun trying some new recipes that call for mozzarella cheese. Plus, it gives me a redeemed use for the pill splitter I needed to purchase for one of the meds I had been on - the splitter divides the rennet tablets nicely. :)
There's a huge variety of recipes out there, but this is how I go about it:
1 gallon whole raw milk
1 ½ t. citric acid dissolved in 1 c. cool chlorine-free water
¼ rennet tablet dissolved in ¼ c. cool chlorine-free water
2 t. sea salt
Slowly heat milk to 55 deg. in a stainless steel pot. Slowly add citric acid solution and stir thoroughly.
Heat milk to 90 degrees over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in rennet solution with an up-and-down motion. Remove from heat; cover and let sit undisturbed for 5 min.
Check the curd – the curds should look like custard, and the whey (the remaining liquid) should be clear. If not, let it set for a few more minutes.
Cut the curd with a knife that reaches to the bottom of the pot. Place pot back on stove and heat to 110 deg. while slowly moving the curds around with your spoon.
Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put in a bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, squeezing out as much whey as possible.
Heat the pot of whey to 175 deg. Shape the curds into 2 balls. Dip them, one at a time, into the heated whey with a slotted spoon for several seconds. Remove and gently fold the cheese over and over (as in kneading) with a spoon or your hand. (You’ll need to use rubber gloves at this point.) This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, which will not stretch until it is too hot to touch (145 degrees inside the curd).
Repeat this process several times until the curd is smooth and pliable; mix in 1 t. salt per ball after the second time. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it’s done. If the curds break instead of stretching, they are too cool and need to be reheated.
When the cheese in smooth and shiny, shape as desired (log, ball, braid, bite-size morsels or string cheese) and submerge in ice water. This will allow the cheese to hold its shape.
Store in refrigerator up to one week.
Yield: approximately 1 pound