Fresh mozzarella is more easily found in stores than ever before. They often refer to it as buffalo mozzarella. Smooth and creamy it is unlike the kind you buy in plastic and shred for lasagna. It also comes in smaller ping pong sized balls that are fun to eat. What you may not know is that it is fairly easy and quick ( 30 minutes) to make your own at home !
Basically you need only a couple of ingredients that are specialized to make this. Rennet and citric acid are readily available and help convert the gallon of fresh whole milk into a nice rich cheese.
The process can be done in your kitchen in about a half hour. Make sure you have your ingredients and tools ready to go and hopefully you won’t have any interruptions.
My recipe is for an entire antipasto plate so here goes:
Fresh Herb Mozzarella Antipasto Salad
7 ounces pitted olive salad mix of black and green olives
1 /2 cup olive oil
1 /4 cup lemon juice
Zest of lemon
1 garlic clove , minced
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning mix/fresh or dried
1 /2 teaspoon Hot Pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon rennet or ¼ rennet tablet
1 1/2 cups spring water
1 ½ teaspoons citric acid
1 gallon Hood milk
1 ½ teaspoons cheese salt
2 teaspoons Italian Herb seasoning mix ( marjoram , thyme ,rosemary ,sage, savory, oregano and basil)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes/ quartered
10 ounces thinly sliced Italian deli meats (salami, capacolla , prosciutto)
1 thinly sliced stick ciabatta bread or French bread
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1 clove garlic
Bunch fresh basil
To make Olive mix: Place olives in a small bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small jar, shake and pour over olives. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the mozzarella: Place the rennet tablet in 1 /4 cup water and stir to dissolve in a small cup. Dissolve the citric acid in 1 ¼ cups water in a small cup. Pour the milk into a large stainless steel pot. Add in the citric acid mixture and stir vigorously with a slotted spoon. Heat the milk to 90 degrees while still stirring.
Remove milk from heat slowly stir in the rennet with an up and down motion for 30 seconds. Cover pot and let sit for 5 minutes.
Check curd which should look lumpy. Stir and place pot back on stove and heat mixture to 110 degrees. Remove from heat and stir from 2-5 minutes. The longer you stir the hard the cheese end result. Now remove the curds by using a slotted spoon. Lift out and place in a bowl.
You may now either microwave your curd to 135 degrees or heat in boiling water. To microwave heat on high 1 minute, squeeze out liquid and again for 30 seconds. In water, bring water in a large pot to 185 degrees and submerge cheese into water ( a colander may be used or not) .
In either case stretch the cheese like taffy and knead like bread. Stretching elongates the protein. Add in the salt and the herbs during the stretching process and continue to stretch until it is smooth and shiny. When it is ready form into a ball, log or bite size morsels. This whole process takes about 30 minutes. Set aside.
When you are ready to serve….
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place sliced bread on foil covered baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven , baste with olive oil and rub with a clove of garlic.
Plate the antipasto by doing rows of each :
Drained olives; sliced mozzarella; tomatoes with basil garnish and olive oil drizzle; meats ; toasts
For more info and supplies check out: http://www.cheesemaking.com