How to Make Mozzarella in 30 Minutes and Live to Eat the Pizza
I’ve enjoyed fresh mozzarella quite a bit in my day. It’s soft, moist and has a texture that is delicate and indulgent. But you haven’t truly known fresh mozzarella until you’ve actually taken the time to make mozzarella with your bare hands. In 30 minutes. Now that’s fresh.Jennifer and I headed over to her sister Sarah’s kitchen last week. Sarah had a solid recipe (with pictures, which are key), all the tools and organic and local milk. We brought the foccaccia (Jennifer’s standard recipe), cherry tomatoes from our organic garden and some leftover pesto.
I have to be honest. I spent much of the early part of our great mozzarella experiment enjoying some Victory Storm King Imperial Stout with my brother-in-law Ryan. But I know this much: the set-up matters, and you’ll definitely need the following:
— super sanitized equipment (like a 2 gallon pot, measuring cup, slotted spoon, a couple of large bowls) and workspace
— a food thermometer that reads clearly between 80-120 degrees
— rennet (liquid or tablet), the cogagulating agent
— other ingredients like citric acid and cold milk
If you’re going to try this, by now you should be consulting the recipe we used, or one that you’ve found. We like the one provided by the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company because they’ve been helping amateur cheesemakers for almost 35 years. Also, we preferred the method that doesn’t require a microwave.
To start, you’ll be combining the citric acid, water and milk in this big pot. Then add the rennet and heat the liquid to 90 degrees.
After cutting and reheating the curd, you’ll need to transfer it to separate the whey.
Next comes the fun part, so of course that’s when I put down my stout, washed my hands thoroughly, and got to work on kneading, pulling and squeezing the mozzeralla, not unlike you might with bread dough but not without its own unique tricks (definitely more of a pull-and-squeeze operation than a knuckle-job).
While the finished mozzarella balls went into some liquid and in the fridge, Sarah made some pasta and before long we had penne pesto with fresh mozzarella.
We took some home and put it on top of some whole weat pizza doughand a rustic sauce I made using our cherry tomato surplus. The cheese crisped a bit harder than store-bought mozzarella, but I reckon with more skill, the fresh mozzarella would have melted more traditionally.
And for this week’s project, Sarah’s making a … baby.
That’s right, any moment now Sarah will be delivering little Lena. That’ll probably take more than 30 minutes, but if we waited this long to try making fresh mozzarella, I’m sure we’ll be able to tough this out.