*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
                             MOZZARELLA CHEESE
 Recipe By     : 
 Serving Size  : 1    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : 
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
           ---           ------CRAFT OF THE COUNTRY
    2       ga           Milk, pasteurized and
                         -cooled to 90^F
    7       tb           Cultured buttermilk
    6       tb           Yogurt
                         -rennet to coagulate 2
                         -gallons milk (1/2 Hansens
                         -tablet) dissolved in about
      1/2   c            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 modelling 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 90^F 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 RT Aug 22, 1992 by
   MM by MMCONV and Sylvia Steiger, GEnie THE.STEIGERS,
   CI$ 71511,2253, Internet sylvia.steiger@lunatic.com,
   moderator of GT Cookbook and PlanoNet Lowfat &
   Luscious echoes
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