The original Italian mozzarella di bufala, or mozzarella made from water buffalo milk, is a sublime soft, white cheese. Today, it’s made from cow milk around the globe, and while the cow-milk version not as phenomenal as the original, it’s still a wonder.
Mozzarella is one of the most fun cheeses to make at home. This recipe is for a traditional mozzarella, which takes a bit of time, but it is worth it.
While I was in Israel, I saw this cheese being made commercially. In that setting, stretching machines are used, and the cheese resembles taffy being pulled. The cheese makers take the cheese off the machine and throw it up into the air, and it wraps around itself on the way down. Poetry in motion!
Cultured buttermilk introduces culture into cheese. Make sure the label says the buttermilk contains live, active cultures. Or make your own buttermilk, as described in Chapter 1.
Note that this cheese requires an overnight ripening time.
- 1 gallon fresh cow milk
- ¼ cup cultured buttermilk
- ½ tablet rennet dissolved in ¼ cup non-chlorinated water (You may substitute ¼ teaspoon liquid rennet dissolved in ½ cup non-chlorinated water.)
- noniodized salt
- In a large cooking pot, warm the milk to 95°F (35°C); warm it slowly so it does not burn on the bottom. Blend in the buttermilk thoroughly with a whisk. Let sit 15 minutes to allow the bacteria to wake up.
- Stir the rennet solution into the milk, whisking to mix thoroughly. Cover and place in a warm spot. Let sit undisturbed in warm place for approximately 2 to 3 hours until a clean break is achieved. If you disturb the milk during this time, you will have problems getting a clean break.
- After 2 hours, test for a clean break. If the curd is not ready to cut, then wait until a clean break is achieved. Cut the curds into ½-inch (13-mm) cubes.
- Gently stir up the cut curds with a clean hand. Let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour off any way that has come to the surface; there will probably be about a quart.