Raw Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp citric acid powder
- 6 quarts Hidden Camp Farm raw milk
- 1/4 tsp liquid rennet
- 6 tbsp pickling (canning) or kosher salt
- Bowl of ice water
1. Sterilize all equipment. In a small glass bowl or measuring cup, dissolve citric acid powder in 1/4 cup lukewarm water, stirring with a stainless-steel spoon.
2. In a large stainless steel pot, combine milk and dissolved citric acid, stirring to blend well with an up and down motion.
3. Place pot over medium heat and warm milk mixture to 88ºF, stirring gently to prevent scorching.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Dilute rennet in 1/4 cup cool water. Add to milk and using the same up and down motion, draw rennet down into milk until well blended. Cover and let set for 30 minutes. Check for a clean break (as shown in picture below). If the curd is still to fragile, cover and let set for another 15 minutes or until a clean break is achieved.
6. Using a long-bladed knife and skimmer, cut curd into 1/2 inch cubes. Let stand for 5 minutes to firm up the curds.
7. Place pot over low heat and slowly warm curds to 106ºF, stirring gently and continuously, adjusting the heat as necessary to make sure it takes 20 minutes to do so. Turn off heat and continue to stir for 20 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, in another pot, bring 4 quarts fresh filtered water to a boil. Add 6 tbsp pickling salt and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat.
9. Drain off whey through a cheese cloth lined colander. Let drain for 15 minutes.
10. Place curd mass on a clean cutting board and cut into 1 inch strips. Place in a large bowl. Pour salt water over strips.
11. Wearing heat resistant rubber gloves or using a long handled wooden spoon, work strips under the hot water (the cheese will become very soft), pushing and pulling and stretching them. The curd will begin to stretch. Pull cheese out into a long rope, folding it back on itself and stretching again until it is smooth and shiny. Use your hands to shape the cheese into the single ball.
Tip: One of the most important steps in making stretched curd cheeses is determining the right moment to do the stretching. The acidity of the curd must be just right. To test whether your pasta filata cheese is ready for stretching, pinch off a small piece of curd and immerse it in a bowl of 175ºF water. Work the ball of cheese with your fingertips to soften, then try to stretch it into a long strand. If it breaks or will not stretch, it is not yet ready. Wait for a while longer before trying again.
12. When the cheese turns smooth and shiny place the cheese in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towel. Use immediately or wrap and refrigerate.