Cheese-making 101: Fresh Mozza at NAIT (+ Recipe)February 20, 2014
Who loves fresh cheese? Who's made fresh cheese? I for one have, and it really is a fun and satisfying activity to carry out in the kitchen. The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has recently launched its own line of cheese and last week I had the opportunity to stop by the campus to learn more about their new cheese-making initiative.
30 MINUTE MOZZARELLA
(recipe courtesy of NAIT)
4L 1% or 2% milk (not skim and not ultra-pasteurized)
¼ rennet tablet
1½ tsp citric acid, powdered
1. Crush ¼ tablet of rennet and dissolve in ¼ cup of cool non-chlorinated water and set aside to use later.
2. Add 1½ tsp) of powdered citric acid to 1 cup cool non-chlorinated water. Stir to dissolve.
3. Quickly pour cold milk and citric acid into a pot so they are well mixed. Next, slowly heat this mixture to 32'C/90'F - this should take about 10 minutes. Stir gently and slowly and do not touch the sides or bottom of the pot.
4. At 32'C/90'F, remove the pot from the burner and slowly add the dissolved rennet to the milk and stir in a top-to-bottom motion for approximately 30 seconds. Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
5. Check for a clean break in the curd by slicing and lifting the 'cheese'. If too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes.
6. Cut the curd into a 1" checkerboard pattern. If a drier cheese is desired, carefully cut into smaller curd sizes and gently stir to release more whey.
7. Place the pot back on the stove and heat to 40'C/105'F while slowly stirring the curds with your hands, using a gentle lifting motion. Once that temperature is reached, take off the burner, cover and let the curd release more whey undisturbed.
8. Strain the curds through a mesh strainer or scoop them with a slotted spoon into a microwave-safe bowl.
9. Press this curd gently with your hand, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve this whey to use for cooling the mozzarella.
10. Microwave the curd on high for 1 minute. You will notice more whey has run out of the curd. Drain off the whey. Season the cheese to taste with salt. Quickly knead the cheese with a spoon or your hands until it is cool enough to touch (rubber gloves will help – the cheese is almost too hot to touch at this point).
11. Microwave 2 more times for 30 seconds each and knead. Drain all of the whey as you go. Knead quickly now as you would bread dough, until the cheese is smooth and shiny. (If you want a softer texture, work the curd less when draining and kneading. This will make a moister cheese.)
12. Taste it for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. This is where you can add other spices or herbs.
13. At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to stretch like taffy. It is now ready to eat or you can add ice to the reserved whey and cool your cheese in the whey. When cold you can wrap in plastic and it will last for several days, but is best when eaten fresh.
NAIT's Retail Meat Store
For step by step instructions on how to make your cheese, check out this awesome video demo put together by NAIT. If somehow you're still not convinced that you can do it yourself at home, keep an eye out for the class that NAIT will be putting together in the near future!