If a person could have a nemesis and if that nemesis could be a cheese, then for me it would be Mozzarella! I have struggled in vain with this cheese, with little or no success. Currently as I type this I am 4 for 15 with this cheese. Yes 4 successes in 15 tries! I am the Maple Leafs of Mozzarella making, I succeed just enough to get the fans excited and then I tank the rest of the time. I have tried several different methods of the “direct” acid methods.
3 of the four success had come from the so called “30 Minute” Mozzarella way of things using citric acid to acidify the milk and form the curd. I even had success using this when I added cream to 2% milk. It was lovely and melted well. The best was when I used Vital Greens 3.25% whole non-homogenized milk. It was lovey and flavourful and melted well.
But this challenge is using Mary’s method not Ricki’s way.
I knew this challenge was coming and I knew I needed to prove that I could make this cheese. So I decided it was time to face my nemesis in a mano a queso show down. I took day to make Mozzarella for the Pizza I was going to make that night. I used Mary’s Vinegar version of the cheese. It seem to go ok, I had good curd, I had a good cooking of the curd, no shattering, it drained well too. I heated the whey and did my bare handed pulling. It was turning out to be one of the good ones, but I over stretched and cheese was a tad hard. It melted, but it was very squeaky when you bit into it. This in my opinion was a success, so I had vanquished my demon…Little did I know that Mozzarella was toying with me. NOTE: if you don’t have Junket Tablets (usually used for setting custards) use 1/2 tsp of rennet.
Successful Mozzarella Tasting Notes:
Now if this was a movie series, my next batch would have been called the Fromagio of Revenge (or smack the cocky little git named Ian in the face and kick him again). This time I figured I had it down pat, as I succeed on the first try using vinegar, so now let’s make it with Goat Milk. Yeah right it was going so well too, I added the vinegar and the rennet, I had curd, I had solid curd with a clean break. Now this is when Mozzarella decided to pounce in its weasely under-handed way that it does. I started to raise the temperature and stirred every 5 minutes until it was up to temp. Then I started to stir slowly for the allotted time and then as if the Wonder Twins were messing with me and Zan shouted “Form of Shattered Curd”. I have been known, in the past, to toss the occasional frying pan across the room in a fit of rage when I have messed up a recipe. This does not happen anymore thank goodness, I tried my best to salvage the cheese, I drained it, I tried to cheddar it, I tried to press it. Nothing doing, and in to the bin it went. I was angry at myself for getting cocky, for wasting time and effort, and at Mozzarella for being such a pain in my posterior.
There are no tasting notes on this one, or pictures. Mozzarella won that time and I would not promote it, well until now.
Let’s flash forward a month and Valerie, Addie and I were gathered to make Mozzarella, originally for a CBC Radio interview that was cancelled, but it was now a chance for us to make our challenge cheese for November. Things were going swimmingly, at first. I used 2% Foremost Milk and then I toped it up with some cream (mistake one on Ian’s cockiness trip) I had a decent curd and a good clean break and a good cooking of the curd. This time the problem was in the draining. I think it did not drain well enough. It stopped dripping but was still wet. The curd did not melt at all. It was mush. It tried to save it again. This time I tasted it before it was binned and Valerie took some pictures of it the small pile of fail that is my Mozzarella. All the flowing pictures are courtesy of Valerie at www.ACanadianfoodie.com, thank you very much Valerie.
FAILED Mozzarella Tasting Notes :
I gone back through my notes and have decided that most of my fails were with homogenized milk or using Foremost Brand. I will avoid these when trying again. There will be a next time. I also noted that in successful attempt with Mary’s recipe I used a water bath set-up, I will have try that method as well. Addie asked me why I keep on making it if I am not successful to which I replied “it is because I can’t get it right, I will keep on doing it until I do.”
Do not loose hope, I know lots for home cheese makers that have issues with Mozzarella, and others can make it practically with their eyes shut and one leg tied behind there back. Keep at it, I will because Mozzarella you have bested me for now, but I shall have the last stretch yet.
Go Make some Cheese and good luck with your Mozzarella.