I’ve made mozzarella six or seven times, usually using the recipe in Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making, but I still can’t get it quite right.
Today my copy of Home Cheese Making is out on loan to my friend Jonathan, who is a master chef stricken by an inexplicable fear of cheesemaking. In its absence, I turned to the mozzarella recipe on Ricki Carroll’s web site.
I’m grateful for any guidance on cheesemaking at all, but I can’t help but feel that what is out there — including these two sources I’ve cited — leaves a lot to be desired. The instructions in this book and on this web site are vague, confusing, and contradictory. And the mozzarella help forums on cheesemaking.com are even worse!
While my mozzarella has never achieved Alex’s seal of approval, we always scarf it down immediately. The texture is off, but the taste is there. Typically it is too tough, and today’s mozzarella was downright squeaky — even more so than you’d expect paneer to be.
My suspicion is that I will have to make mozzarella at least a hundred times before I can work out all of the variables to my satisfaction. So far I’ve tried:
- Using more rennet and using less rennet – helpful but doesn’t get me all the way there
- Using expensive local milk – didn’t make a difference
- Stirring differently, stirring longer, not stirring at all – nope and nope
The next step is, I think, to try liquid rennet instead of powdered rennet. This should give me more control over how much goes into the cheese.
In the meantime, I’m on the lookout for more guidance. I’d love to make the trek out to Ricki Carroll’s Cheesemaking 101 Workshop, but it’s always sold out. And I’ve tried Formaggio Kitchen’s Cheese 101 Class, but it is really cheese tasting more than it is cheese making. Open to suggestions if there are better options!
Having squeaks in your homemade mozzarella is, I admit, a rather high-class problem. And they go away entirely when you use the mozz to top a pizza. Mmmmm…