30 Minute Mozzarella Cheese
Q. I tried making 30 minute mozzarella today for the first time. It seemed to go well, but, in the end, I was not able to get the cheese to stretch. I even re-heated an extra time in the microwave. I also did not get it to knead into a shiny ball. It tastes good but looks almost like curds. What did I do wrong?
A. This can be the result of curd that has dried out too much in the early stages. A good level of moisture is needed for a nice smooth stretch. Next time, try cutting the curds a little larger and stir them for a shorter period of time.
Q. I just got my 30 Minute Mozzarella Kit and I want to make ricotta from the whey, however, your book (Home Cheese Making) says it cannot be done. Why are your directions different from all of the ones I find online that say it can be done?
A. The mozzarella kit is a process in which no culture is used to produce acidity. Instead, citric acid is added to the milk to provide this acidity. Therefore, the milk goes from being very sweet to it's final acidity for stretching the cheese. This means that any whey draining from the curds will already be too acidic to develop a good ricotta.
You have read about a different process in which bacterial culture slowly develops the acidity. In this case, the whey draining from the curds is taken off earlier in the process and is still sweet enough to form a good ricotta. They are two very different processes.
Goat Milk Mozzarella
Q. Can make 30 minute mozzarella with fresh goat milk?
A. Yes, but it will depend on your specific milk. Some cheese makers have fabulous success while others have a hard time getting a good stretch. A lot depends on the particular herd so it's hard to generalize, but here are some considerations:
- Goat milk typically needs 25-50% less rennet.
- Goat milk may need a slightly lower temperature for each recipe step.
Our mozzarella recipe is based on standardized and pasteurized cow milk, usually from the store shelf because this is what most home cheese makers have access to. Goat milks composition changes dramatically throughout the season. Summer milk has a low fat content, fall milk has a high fat content.
The way to produce the best mozzarella using this fresh milk is to drop temperatures back to 86-88°F before adding the rennet. This will form a curd that will retain more moisture. Minimal heating of the curds is needed, you may find that 90-98°F is sufficient. Really good milk, is almost ready to stretch, at this low temp.
The point where the curds began to stick and get stringy is the time when the curds are almost ready to stretch.
Q. The mozzarella came out good, but is drier and harder than we would like. Is there a way to make it softer?
A. To achieve a softer cheese, you will need to keep more moisture in the curds. To get a smoother, more supple cheese, try cutting the curds a bit larger and stirring a bit less. Also limit the amount of stretching and heating; the more you heat and work the curd, the drier it will become. Some people find that stretching like taffy, and avoiding the kneading portion, keeps the cheese softer as well.