Mozzarella Cheese
craft of the country cook 
2 gal.  milk, pasteurized and cooled to 90^f
7 Tbsp  cultured buttermilk
6 Tbsp  yogurt
  rennet to coagulate 2-gallons milk (1/2 hansens tablet) dissolved in about
1/2 cup  cold water.
usually makes 4 half pound cheeses. 
mozzarella is one of several kinds of "plastic-curd" cheeses, originating 
in italy. in making them the curds are kneaded, which expels whey and 
produces plasticity. because of their dense texture they keep well in warm 
climates and are ideal for smoking. 
provolone is an aged version of a plastic-curd cheese. mozzarella is one 
of the most versatile cheeses to make at home, since it tastes wonderful 
freshly made, freezes well, and can be used like an aged cheese in 
cooking, melting readily when heated. 
start this cheese in the evening. maintain the milk at 90^f in a double 
boiler. mix the buttermilk and yogurt separately with a little of the milk 
to remove lumps, then blend into the rest of the milk. add the rennet 
solution and mix thoroughly. let sit until the curd sets and breaks 
clearly when tested with a finger - about 20 to 30 minutes. cut the curd 
into 1/2 inch cubes as evenly as possible. maintain at 90^f for 15 
minutes, stirring with a clean hand. the curds are fragile because they 
have not been cooked, so stir very gently, just enough to keep them from 
matting together. gently pour the curds into a cloth lined colander. when 
the whey has drained, the curd should be in one solid piece. rinse in cold 
water, then soak in a pan of cold water for 15 minutes. if it is a big 
batch, cut the curd into several blocks, 4 or 5 inches square. drain off 
most of the water, then refrigerate the curds, or keep in a cool, 40^f 
place. leave them in a colander or other container that allows drainage. 
(commercially, mozzarella curds are shipped to delicatessens at this 
stage, where the cheese is finished.) the next day, warm the cheese to 
room temperature so it will ripen, or become more acidic. after an hour or 
so, test the cheese for acidity as follows. cut off a small piece of 
cheese and cut it into three 1/2 inch cubes. heat several cups of water in 
a sauce pan to 165^f. put in the cubes and stir for 5 minutes. remove the 
cubes and mold them together like modeling clay. reheat the lump of cheese 
in the water for a minute, then remove and work or mold it together a 
little more. after repeating several times, try to pull the curd apart. if 
it breaks or tears, and clouds the water, it is underripe. wait an hour or 
so and test again. when it pulls into a long rope and can be molded 
together again, it is ready. it will have a glossy surface and* will cloud 
the water only slightly. 
the whole cheese is treated somewhat like the test sample to finish it. 
cut it into small cubes and put them in a pan. heat water to 170^f and 
pour enough over them, to cover the curds by about 2 inches. keep a 
thermometer in the pan and let the temperature drop to 135^f. press the 
cubes together, and then knead the cheese, by stretching and pulling it, 
as if working modeling clay. it should become "plastic" and stretch into 
long strands. when it does, shape into half pound balls, or make a thick 
rope, fold it in half, and twist several times to make a decorative oblong 
cheese. mozzarella can be dipped in hot water to make a glossy surface, or 
wrapped in cheese cloth to protect it. to keep the cheese very fresh 
tasting for up to a week, keep it in a bowl of water in the refrigerator, 
and change the water every day. to salt mozzarella for longer keeping, or 
to prepare it for smoking, soak it in brine for 4 or 5 hours (see brined 
cheese) the whey from mozzarella is perfect for making ricotta because it 
does not have a chance to develop much acidity. 
  smoked mozzarella: mozzarella and other firm cheeses can be cold smoked
  for flavor. salting and smoking both help preserve the cheese by drying
  it, and discouraging bacteria and insects. set the cheese on a rack in the
  smoker, or wrap in cheesecloth and hang it. keep the temperature below
  90f to prevent sweating off butterfat or melting. smoke at 60 to 85^f for
4 to 15   hours
brined cheese: press the cheese for 5 or 6 hours, or overnight, without 
salting it. make enough brine to cover the cheese by about an inch, using 
4.1/2 tablespoons of plain salt for every quart of water needed. soak the 
cheese from 12 to 24 hours. a small cheese requires less time than a large 
one. turn the cheese once or twice to ensure that the brine penetrates all 
sides. drain for about an hour on a cloth covered rack. cover and 
refrigerate. keeps for a week or more, longer than most fresh cheeses. 
posted on genie food & wine by cookie.lady [mumsie] 
(ID: 7924) Mirror: Mon, Apr 26, 2004

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