Mozzarella is our favorite cheese
This summer’s cheese is Mozzarella made with 100% fresh, pasteurized goat milk. I will get the perfect recipe/formula by the time I quit milking the goats in October.
What’s so hard you ask?
First off, I’ve not found a recipe especially for fresh goat milk. Most are for cow’s milk, and generally store-bought.
There are a couple of different methods, the “30-minute” and the “2 Day”.
Within each recipe there are many variables.
First is the milk. How fresh is it? I get about 1/2 gallon a day, do generally pasteurize the whole gallon on the second day, chill overnight and use on the third day.
Then there is the citric acid, (used in the 30 minute method). How much to add, when to add (milk temp), how long to wait before applying heat each affect how the milk will curd. I have found that allowing the milk temperature to rise to 55 or warmer, causes some immediate small curds. It doesn’t affect the end result, just looks bad. The last batch I made, I added the diluted (2 tsp CA into 1/2 C water) into the pot first, stirred the milk vigorously, and then let it ripen for 15 minutes. I found that it took much longer to curd after heating and adding the rennet.
Which brings in the next variable… warming temps. This is where I really need a better thermometer. It makes quite a bit of difference if you add the rennet at 88 or 90 or even 93 degrees. Most common “insta-read” thermometers only show 10 degree marks.
Rennet is a coagulating agent. It doesn’t take much. I’ve been using either 10 or 11 drops of vegetable rennet. Some recipes call for as little as 8 drops or as much as 13 drops.
How much warmer to take the milk while stirring gently after adding the rennet will have a lot of impact on the type of curd. Less heat makes a more velvety curd, but also makes a “milky whey”.
Then there’s the amount of time to wait for the curd. Depending upon everything above, you could wait from 5 to 15 minutes.
Cutting the curd is fairly straight forward. It’s “catch it if you can”. As you run the knife down through the curd, trying to do it at about 1/2 inch intervals, the whole mass tends to move around in the pot. Once cut one way, cut at 90 degrees. Then make 4 cuts diagonally into the pan.
Next variable… how warm to heat the curd after cutting. Higher heat (105) and longer stirring (up to 5 minutes) makes a firmer curd.
After that, gently ladle out the curds into a deep dish.
Here comes another variable… When to salt. You can salt the whey if you’re going to be dipping the curds into the whey. You should salt the curds separately if you’re going to pour the whey over your curds. I’ve made this mistake a couple of times now.
When it comes to stretching the curds, you have three options.
If you plan to dip, add 1/4 cup of salt to the whey, and raise the temperature to 175 degrees. Transfer the curds to a colander that will fit your pot, so you can completely immerse the curds. You lower and raise the colander, heating the curds. You’re looking for a soft, silky texture. Using spoons, push the curds together and then pull them a bit. Using rubber gloves to protect your hands, remove the curd and begin the stretch and spin.
You can use the microwave to heat your curds. I’ve not tried this, so won’t comment.
I have found that using the whey, and pouring a limited amount over the curds in a bowl works well. For this, I heat the whey to 185 and pour a cup or so over the ball of curds. I let it sit for a couple of minutes before using wooden spoons to move the curds about. As soon as my hands can tolerate the heat, I start pulling the curds, getting at least 2 feet of stretch before doubling the cheese back on itself.
Of course, the stretching, salting, brine-ing or not are the final variables.
So, as the well-trained troubleshooter that I am, I will be making successive batches, changing only one variable at a time (if that’s possible). By the end of summer, I should have some idea of how to make a decent Mozzarella cheese.
What I’ve made so far has either been not stretched enough, not enough salt, had “milky whey”, or has been tough. Got a long way to go. As I figure it out, I’ll add pictures.
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