We had always wanted to try cheese-making for ourselves so when we found a useful little book recently we decided to give it whirl! In our local town of Amandola, we have a wooden milk shed where we can buy fresh milk from the local farms, so thought this would be the perfect start.
So here goes. You will need:
2 litres of full fat milk
100 ml lemon juice
1/2 tsp rennet mixed with 2 tbsp boiled cooled water
salt to taste
And that’s it!
Other than your equipment:
a stainless steel pan
stainless steel colander
small heatproof bowl
large jug of cold water
Place milk in the pan over a medium heat and use thermometer to heat to 32oC. Remove from heat straight away
Have lemon juice and rennet ready to go and whilst stirring the milk, first pour in the lemon juice and then the rennet. Stop stirring straight away and leave to let the curds set. Fascinating to watch.
After 30 minutes, the curds can be cut using a thin sharp knife. Cut 2 cm strips and then lengthways 2 cms too.
Carefully transfer the curd squares into the colander lined with muslin, set over a bowl and leave the whey to drain for 20 minutes. Turn gently to help the whey release.
Sprinkle with salt to taste.
You are now ready to form the mozzarella so get a jug full of very cold water and a small heatproof bowl.
Cut the curd into 4 equal pieces. Place 1 piece into the bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. The curds will melt but the protein will begin to turn to mozzarella.
Using a fork, scoop up the curds and tip off any whey. Press the curds together to form a loose lump and then with your fingers, roll to form your cheese.
Squeeze out a bit more whey. The quicker you form your cheese the softer it will be but if you knead it more, the mozzarellla will be dryer and firmer. If the cheese appears to be chalky, it needs heating a bit more (to around 60oC). It should be glossy!
Finally drop your formed ball into the cold water and leave to set. Repeat with the other 3 balls.
Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you don’t have a microwave or prefer not to use it, heat a large shallow pan of water to 80oC and place your bowl with each cheese portion in the hot water. The curds will begin to go shiny and bind. Follow as above.