This is a hard one. There’s good reason why most ‘good’ mozzarella is still made by hand today…too little kneading and pulling and it’ll fall apart, same if you knead and pull too much. It really is an art form at the end of the process!
The first thing you need is milk. I usually use about 3 1/2litres of whole milk, and 500ml of table cream (18%) for most of my cheeses. I like having the extra fat in there for creaminess of the cheese.
First step is to gather everything you need:
Large, heavy bottom pan
Milk and cream
small bowl with 1/2 cup of cool water
small bowl with 1/4 cup of cool water
1 cup measure
2 cup measure
long blade knife
sterile cloth (for draining)
bowl to catch whey (for use in making ricotta)
Warm the milk to 88F (use a thermometer)
While the milk is warming, add 1 1/4 tsp of citric acid to the 1/2 cup of water.
Also put 1/2 of a rennet tablet in the 1/4 cup of water. Stir these well.
When the milk reaches 88F, take off the heat and stir in the citric acid mixture. Stir this well.
Wait a minute or two, then add the rennet mixture.
Let this sit for two hours, or until a clean break is achieved with the curd. This happens when you stick your finger in and it basically comes out clean. Much like using a toothpick to check to see if a baked good is done.
Once you get a clean break, cut the curd into 1/2″ cubes with a knife. You don’t have to make actual cubes. IE, the depth of the curd isn’t important.
Re-warm the curds and whey to 108F. Stir gently to keep the curds from reforming a solid mass. Hold at 108F for 35 minutes. You should stir this every 5 minutes or so. Make sure it doesn’t fall and stick to the bottom of the pan.
After 35 minutes, remove from heat. Place the strainer over a large bowl, and line with the sterile cloth (a dish cloth, clean, boiled in water for a minute will do the trick).
Drain for 15 minutes. Keep the whey to make Ricotta cheese if you wish. I’ll have a recipe for that eventually…
Break the drained curd into smaller pieces and thoroughly mix in 1 tsp of sea salt.
Take 1 cup of this mixture and put in a 2 cup measuring cup. Microwave for 30 – 45 sec.
Remove from the cup with a spoon (it may stick a little). Knead the ‘dough’ until it is a uniform temperature. Reheat for another 20 second in the microwave.
Once it’s reheated, remove again, and this time pull and stretch the ‘dough’, folding it over on itself each time. Keep doing this until it’s smooth and elastic. Then shape it into a ball and put it in a container with salted water (1/3 cup per quart of water).