Monday, February 21, 2011

Mozzarella (Overnight and 30 min) by Nitai Sundara

Its not essential, but if you want you can order some freeze-dried cultures. A good place to order is A good multi-application culture combination is Meso2 and ThermoB.

This is not the 30 minute style mozz recipe. And of course 30 minutes is one of those cookbook lies anyway. Mozzarella has a false reputation of being easy. T...o get a really good mozz is not so easy. The key is that the curds have to be in a small PH window in order to stretch. Too low and they shatter, too high and the curds stay stiff. The 30 min mozz may be more attractive because it is less discouraging if it fails and only requires citric acid instead of cheese cultures. Here is a 30 min mozz recipe:

2 gallons milk
calcium chloride if using pasteurized milk
Meso2 and ThermoB cultures, or live buttermilk
veg rennet (tablet or liquid)
Kosher or cheese salt (cannot be iodized)
distilled water
Brine (recipe at bottom, must be made ahead of time. Can be kept for future)

For 2 gallons (for pasteurized milk you *need* some calcium chloride.1/4t per gallon, diluted in 1/4c non-chlorinated water and added before heating):

—Heat your milk to 86F
—Add 1/8t Meso2 + 1/8t ThermoB / Alternately, add 1/2 c buttermilk (with viable cultures inside)
—Let cultures sit on the top for a minute or two then stir in thoroughly with 20 top-to-bottom strokes. Or just stir in the buttermilk.
—Leave milk to ripen for 1 hour (maintain 86F)
—dissolve 1/4 tablet veg rennet in cold distilled water (chlorinated water cold ruin the process)
—Stir in liquid with 20 top-bottom strokes only, do not keep stirring.
—Begin testing for flocculation (described here: at 10 mins. The multiplier for mozz is 3. Ideally you will get flocculation between 12-15 min and your total renneting time will be 3x that. If it takes longer than this, try using a little more culture next time. If it is shorter, use less culture or rennet. Raw milk always sets better than store-bought.
—Cut the curds into 1/2" cubes (impossible really in a round pot without a special device, but here is a guide:
 —leave 10 minutes undisturbed
—Slowly heat to 102F, stirring gently and almost constantly to prevent matting. This should take about 30 mins. Heating too fast will ruin the cheese. After this the curds should pass the texture test: Perform a Texture Test by removing a small handful of curds from the pot. Squeeze them together in your hand. They should mat together. They should also separate into individual curds again if you rake them with your fingers. Do not proceed until you pass this test---continue stirring the curds in the warm pot if necessary
—Leave to sit for 10-15 mins then drain whey.
—Now the curds need to acidify. There are two ways. If you did not start the recipe in the morning or early afternoon, I do not recommend the first method.
Method 1—return drained curd mass to warm pot, cutting it into a few slices and stacking them in the pot. This is called cheddaring. Switch them around every 30 minutes and cut a small piece and test to see if it stretches in 130F water. If it does, proceed to next step. If it shatters or falls apart instead of stretching, it has already over acidified. Use less culture and or cheddar for a shorter period next time. You can still eat the curds.
Method 2—My preferred method. Refrigerate the drained curds overnight (this is ultimately easier and more likely to get the curds where you need them for stretching.)

—When properly stretching, cut curds into 1/2-1" cubes
—Heat water to 165-180F
—Put in some or all of curds (watch that water temp does not go too low)
—Poke and prod them till they start melding together and proceed to stretch until smooth and shiny. If the curds fall apart, they overacidified and either sat too long or had too much culture initially. If they are stiff and do not stretch well, wait longer.
—As you finish stretching, drop into cold brine and leave for 15-30 mins, depending on size of your mozz ball. Store in an airtight container, water is optional.

Brine: 1 gallon Water
32 oz. Kosher or Coarse Salt (See table below for making other brine recipes.)
2 cups Whey collected from making any mild cheese, ripened for 24 hours
10 ml. Calcium Chloride

Dissolve salt in water, this will require heating the water for a heavy brine like this one.
When cool, add remaining ingredients. Refrigerate.

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