A few friends and I have joined forces to make the Ormewood Cheese Club. We get together with a singular purpose ... to make cheese and enjoy it with wine, snacks, and lots of good old fashioned gabbing. During the last cheesemaking episode we made the following mozzarella cheese recipe, adapted from this one provided by the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, where you can also buy supplies and kits to reenact with your very own cheese club.
I was genuinely surpised at how easy the delicious boccaccini (bite sized mozzarella balls) were to make. We each had a gallon of milk and experimented with the dosage of lipase and cheese salt for a variety of flavors. It is best to use homogonized, but unpasteurized, whole milk from a local source that can be purchased at your local health food store (my favorite is Sevananda in Little Five Points).
Before you begin, sterilize all the cooking tools with boiling water and wipe down the counters with an antibiotic spray. Go ahead and dissolve the rennet, citric acid, and lipase into small containers so they're at hand during the cheesemaking process. Also measure and set aside the desired amount of cheese salt so it's ready to add when needed.
This is the recipe we followed and you can also watch the video to see the boccaccini in action.
- 1 gallon homogonized, unpasteurized, whole milk from local source
- 1/4 tablet vegetable rennet, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold spring (unchlorinated) water
- 1 1/2 tsp citric acid, diluted in 1 cup cold spring (unchlorinated) water
- Lipase dissolved as per package instructions
- 1 tbsp cheese salt (more or less to taste)
- Pour milk into sterilized stainless steel pot. Add diluted citric acid stir thoroughly with sterilized spoon.
- Heat the milk to 90°F. You may notice the milk begin to curdle.
- Take the pot off the burner and slowly add the dissolved rennet.
- Add the lipase and stir milk in up and down motion for about 30 seconds until curds begin to form.
- Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Scoop out the curds with clean hands into a sterilized bowl. Gently squeeze the curds to remove some of the liquid (whey).
- Squeeze out as much of the whey as you can while you transfer the curd to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave the curd on high for 1 minute. Then, drain off any whey and knead for about 30 seconds.
NOTE: The curd is VERY HOT so dip your hands in cool water while kneading.
- Repeat this process 2 more times microwaving on high for 35 seconds, then draining and kneading.
- Knead quickly now until curd is smooth and shiny.
- Add the cheese salt towards the end and knead until fully incorporated.
- Stretch the curd until pliable and then form into several small balls (boccaccini).
- Drop the balls into icewater to cool.
Congratulations! The boccaccini are delicious and best eaten fresh (especially with red ripe tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil). If you happen to have any left over (a tall order I must say), cover them with water in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.