Sunday, January 11, 2009

I made my own mozzarella!! I followed Ricki's recipe below. First and third batch came out great! First milk I bought at Target, third I bought at Foodarama. Second batch I bought milk at Walmart and it didn't set, guess the milk it pasteurized at too high a temperature.

So, we made home made pizza with fresh mozzarella for dinner! IT was fantastic!

Ricki Carroll's 30-minute Mozzarella
Yield: 3/4 to 1 pound cheese

1 1/2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
1 gallon pasteurized whole milk
1/4 tsp liquid rennet (or 1/4 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
1 tsp cheese salt (coarse, noniodized flake salt similar to pickling salt; do not use iodized salt)

Slowly heat the milk in a stainless steel pot to 55 degrees. While stirring, add the citric acid solution to the milk and mix thoroughly.

Heat the milk to 88 degrees over medium-low heat. The milk will begin to curdle.

Gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat. Then let the milk sit still while heating it to between 100 and 105 degrees. In about 5 to 8 minutes, the curds should be pulling away from the sides of the pot.

The curds will look like thick yogurt and have a bit of shine to them, and the whey will be clear. If the whey is still milky white, wait a few more minutes before turning off the heat. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2-quart microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible.

Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute.

Drain off all excess whey. Gently fold the cheese over and over (as in kneading bread) with your hand or a spoon. This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, which will not stretch until it is too hot to touch (145 degrees inside the curd). You may want to don rubber gloves at this point, as the cheese will be extremely hot to the touch.

Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each; add salt to taste after the second time. After each heating, knead again to distribute the heat.

Knead quickly until it is smooth and elastic. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it's done. If the curds break instead of stretch, they are too cool and need to be reheated.

When the cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls and eat while warm. Or place them in a bowl of ice water for half an hour to bring the inside temperature down rapidly; this will produce a consistent smooth texture throughout the cheese. Although best eaten fresh, it can be stored in the refrigerator at this point.

Note: If you are using store-bought milk, and your curds turn into the consistency of ricotta cheese and will not come together, switch brands of milk. It may have been heated at the factory at too high a temperature.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A visit with Grandpa and Grandma Tamez

We went for an overnight visit and the kids were overjoyed to see Grandma and Grandpa Tamez!