If you are at all interested in making cheese you should try making mozzarella! In thirty minutes or so you can have a fresh batch of mozzarella and you don’t need any special equipment other than some rennet, citric acid and cheese salt and of course milk!
1 ½ tsp citric acid dissolved in ½ cup cool water
1 gallon milk (you may use skim but the yield will be lower and the cheese drier)
¼ rennet tablet diluted in ¼ cup cool, un-chlorinated water
1 tsp cheese salt (optional)
While stirring, add the citric acid solution to the milk at 55F and mix thoroughly. Heat the milk to 90F, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in the diluted rennet with an up and down motion for about 30 seconds. Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
Check the curd, it should look like custard with a clear separation between the curd and whey. If the curd is too soft, or the whey is too milky, let set for a few more minutes. Cut the curd with a knife that reaches all the way to the bottom of your pot.
Place the pot back on the stove and heat the curds to 110F, gently moving the curds around with your spoon. Remove from the heat and continue to sir slowly for 2-5 minutes. (Stirring the full minutes results in a firmer cheese)
Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2 quart microwaveable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey.
Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute. Drain off excess whey. Gently fold the cheese over and over (like kneading bread) with your hands or a spoon. This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese. 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 is done. 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 ½ hour to bring the inside temperature down rapidly. Best eaten fresh, but if you must, cover and store in the refrigerator.
Yield: ¾-1 pound
This recipe and my other cheese recipes are from the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll. An excellent book for beginner cheese makers.