June 26, 2011

My First Mozzarella

My first goats milk mozzarella cheese
Perhaps I should call this, my first successful mozzarella. After showing my failed first mozzarella (Contemplations On Making Cheese), Renee (Fefyfomanna) found a link for a 30 minute mozzarella cheese recipe that didn't use a microwave. It used a gallon of milk, citric acid, and rennet. From that one gallon of raw goat milk, I got an 11 ounce cheese.

Mozzarella is one named cheese that doesn't require a special culture to make. Citric acid is used to lower the milk's pH, facilitating the separation of the curds from the whey. Sometimes lipase is added, so that the cheese develops a more characteristic Italian flavor, but apparently this isn't necessary when starting with unpasteurized milk. Pasteurization kills the milk's enzymes, of which lipase is one, so it is often added by cheese makers. [Note to vegetarians: lipase, like rennet, can be either animal or vegetable derived.]

Encouraged by my first success, I tried my hand at two more. The first (pictured), took me an hour to make, but the second went more quickly. It yielded a 10 ounce cheese. The third was a disaster, in that for some reason it wouldn't stretch and ended up in crumbles, much like my first cheese. I'm not entirely sure why, but happily no attempt is so disastrous that it needs to be discarded. One can always find a good use for cheese.

Mozzarella is classified as a pasta filata cheese. Translated, that means "spun paste," because the curds are heated and pulled or stretched to give it that customary stretchy texture. It does not have to be aged and is meant to be enjoyed fresh.

Fresh, it had a very mild (okay, bland) flavor, and grated beautifully.

Grated, fresh mozzarella

It melted beautifully too...

The real test - Friday night pizza

How did it taste?

Couldn't stop eating it!

Absolutely fantastic. I think it was the best pizza I've ever made.

Now that the twins are weaned (under protest I might add), I'm getting about a gallon of milk a day. I reckon this is pretty good for a first freshener and a doe producing on only one side. This amount will slowly decrease until it's time to dry the does up before kidding. Milk is technically measured in pounds, a gallon weighing roughly 8.6 pounds depending on the amount of butterfat. Gallons is the unit used in cheese making, so for now, that's how I think of it.

With all that milk, I'm thinking I will make, shred, and freeze as much mozzarella as I can. I'll measure it into pizza size amounts for freezing, and then I'll be ready to go when Friday night comes around. Freezing does change the texture of cheese, making it more crumbly after it's defrosted. That's not good for slicing cheese, but for shredded cheese, who cares?

For a year's worth of mozzarella for pizza, I'm mentally estimating that I need about 20 pounds worth, which I think (again off the top of my head) translates roughly to about 32 gallons of milk. Of course, I should probably have a little extra on hand, in case we have company or I want to make lasagna, for which I'll also need some ricotta, which BTW, can be made from whey. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me.

[UPDATE 7/18/11- For my updated, improved recipe - click here]

My First Mozzarella © June 2011 
by Leigh at http://my5acredream.blogspot.com/

You can also read this post at Before It's News


Sherri B. said...

Yay, for your successful mozzarells project. Your pizza looks really delicious..I haven't made my own yet, I think the pizza dough scares me off.

I ordered the Root cellar book and can hardly wait until it comes, thanks again for the great revue.

* Crystal * said...

Yay! I'm doing a happy dance for you :-)

Looks great & I'm so happy it turned out well.... I can't wait to dive into cheese making..

Finally bought a pot suitable for cheese making, now I'm either waiting for a late, late sleepless night or a cool day.

Our temps have been averaging 107° & in this 1940's farm house, my kitchen is not air conditioned!! So the thought of staying in the kitchen long enough to make cheese sounds like torture.... lol

Like the garden, I shall live vicariously through the blog post though :-)

Lynda said...

Oh your cheese is beautiful! The pizza looks perfect! Yummy! I make mozzarella once a week, it's a favorite in this family. You are so lucky to have the goats.

Michelle said...

I got to try my hand at 30-minute mozzarella for the first time last week - it was fascinating! It was made from a mixture of cow's, sheep's (Shetland!) and goat's milk and is pretty bland, but I think I'll follow your plan and grate and freeze it. Don't use much cheese around here after Rick's heart attack, but I'm sure I'll use it sometime.

Rob said...

Hello, I am a relative new blogger who also just purchased a 5 acre plot and are going towards the same route that you have now. I hope you and your followers could stop by and tell me what you think. By the way, that mozzarella does look amazing!


Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I have tried mozzarella three times and three times I have failed. Yours looks really good.

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Michelle said...

Way to go! That's an awesome goal of a years worth of mozzarella. Now you you will have to jar up some pizza sauce to go with it.

Very nice that you are getting a good quantity of goats milk out of the one sided milker.

Woolly Bits said...

I was told for years that you can't freeze cheese, and was delighted that I can at least for grating and melting - esp. after our two last winters, where I couldn't get to town to shop. I am not making my own of course, but still... you'll have a lot of work to do - but you're also one step closer to your goal?:))

Mama Pea said...

What a great success! Your pizza looked so good I had to lean forward and sniff the screen. ;o}

I've not made mozzarella yet but you have inspired me to get on the stick and do it. We eat a lot of mozz (yes, pizza once a week) and I currently purchase it in a 6 lb. bulk block. I cut the block into smaller chunks and freeze. I know other cheeses don't freeze as well but the mozz comes out of the freezer just fine . . . grates and slices without crumbling.

Thanks for this encouraging post!

Evelyn said...

The cheese and pizza look wonderful! What other cheeses will you try?

BrokenRoadFarm said...

Ok - I did it again....I read your blog before eating breakfast!!! Now I want pizza with LOTS of mozzarella for breakfast :-)

~Deb~ said...

YaY! I'm happy for you and your cheese making sucess! I have been learning about making cheese and am looking forward to the day I feel ready to tackle cheese, and I also hope to have my own milkers by then. It takes time as you well know to go from consumerism to self-sufficiency ... but wow your pizza looks heavenly!

Renee Nefe said...

Oh that's fantastic! Your cheese looks awesome and yummy! I never knew that ricotta was made from the whey...woot! You'll have plenty then.

We had fresh mozzarella at a pizza place nearby and yes it was very bland. I hadn't ever had it fresh like that before and almost felt bad for not wanting it (I'm so spoiled by store bought).

All the cheese that we tried at our local goat dairy was very yummy and flavorful. We ended up buying something like Parmesan in texture and the flavor was a bit stronger.

Seeking Serenity said...

YUMMM!!!! That looks amazing!!!
Congrats! Next thing you know you'll be selling it :D

Leigh said...

Sherri, pizza was the test and I'm pleased it passed! I hope you enjoy the root cellar book as much as I do!

Crystal, good grief, how are you managing to survive? We had no AC last year, and the kitchen was the worst, especially with all the heat and humidity from canning. Next summer I'll have my stove moved out to the back porch, and can keep all the heat out where it belongs!

Lynda, I wish you would do a tutorial post! I'm still learning and would love any tips.

Michelle, congratulations to you as well! I'd love to try that combination of milks. Who did you milk to get that Shetland?

Rob, welcome to the world of homestead blogging! I'll be on over for a visit.

Jane, well, I'm running with a 50/50 success rate so far. Would love to know what makes the difference.

Tanya, thanks!

Michelle, well, a gallon day begins to crowd out the fridge pretty fast. :) We'll see how much I can get made and frozen. And my Roma plants are loaded! I should do really well in the pizza sauce department. Very happy about that.

Bettina, I always assumed the same thing, but finally did some experimenting and was pleasantly surprised. If I can freeze it already shredded and frozen, I'll have my own homegrown convenience food. Definitely closer to our goal :)

Mama Pea, go for it! It is quick. It is easy, but still there's a knack to it. I'm still working on that one, but encouraged by my 2 successes.

Evelyn, last night I decided I should try Parmesan. I'm mostly just trying to develop a homestead cheese that doesn't require special cultures, but mozzarella and Parmesan are two named cheeses we will definitely. I do have to order a culture for the Parmesan, but I'm willing to give it a try.

BRF, what can I say?!?!? LOL

Deb, that is so true about the road from consumerism to self-sufficiency. Especially when the entire system is set up so as to keep us consumers. It is a lot of fun making cheese. I can't wait to try our hard cheeses in a month or so.

Renee, ricotta is on my list! Interesting about the fresh mozzarella sample you mention being
so bland as to be unimpressive. I felt the same way, but baked on pizza it was delicious. I may try it with lipase sometime, just to see if it makes a difference.

Peaceful, thanks! Selling would be a looooonnnnnng way down the road. Getting certified to sell any dairy takes a lot of health regulations into account. But, if we ever build our own barn, I'd like to incorporate all that just in case.

icebear said...

Have you happened across this website yet? http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/cheese.html

Its a Biology teacher's website full of homey recipes. I learned yogurt making and sourdough baking from him. He has a scientific approach- which works for me, i have made a hard cheese per his instructions- though i messed up the aging process since i kept forgetting to buy cheese wax.

Anyway i have found the page to be excellent in showing me how to do these things.

Congrats on your Mozzarella!

* Crystal * said...

LOL Leigh... I survive very carefully!

I cook a lot in my crockpot, or I cook around midnight with a few fans blowing & reheat for lunch/dinner the following day. Typically we cook on the grill a lot in the summers, but we're in a burn ban, so no grilling.

Bedrooms & living room have AC.....We are about 6 months away from having this place paid off & will be building a new house out here, so the inconvenience is only temporary....

Anywho... back to the cheese.....If you shred & freeze does it gain more flavor over time?

Anonymous said...

Leigh! that is one beautiful mozzarella! well done! It looks perfect! Hugs!

Leigh said...

Icebear, I did run across that site in my research and bookmarked it. Thanks for reminding me though because I haven't gone back to look at his recipes. I'll definitely have to go take a look now.

Crystal, at least you can get out of the heat! And hurray for getting so close to paying your place off! That is definitely worth any temporary inconvenience.

I don't think the mozzarella will gain much flavor, in fact, I've been reading that it's at it's best when fresh. I may get some lipase and try a batch or two with that, just to see if it improves the flavor. Even so, it's delicious on pizza.

Pam, thanks! Not quite perfect, but close enough. :)

Mary Ann said...

I started one batch, ruined it, poured it out, have not attempted again... but you give me hope! Thanks for the post!

Angie said...

Your cheese looks marvelous! Thank you for documenting your projects, I hope to make cheese someday and reading about your process is very encouraging.

Cat Eye Cottage said...

Congratulations on your first successful mozzarella!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Congratulations!! Oh I am so impressed!! It looks amazing!

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Wow. Homemade pizza with your own homemade cheese! That pizza looks soooooo goooooood!

Leigh said...

Mary Ann, I ruined my first batch too. And my fourth! It seems to me that cheesemaking is similar to making bread. It takes practice and experience, and even then, it sometimes just doesn't come out right.

Angie, thank you! I appreciate your comment.

Candace and Alicia, thanks!

Norma, and it was!

Kathy said...

YAY!!!! Good onya, Leigh!!! You've finally come over to the Dark Side. heeheehee! I've been making 30-minute Mozzarella for years now both with store bought milks and sometimes sheep's. I think its fun.
You get a solid "Good Onya!!!"
And L'il Rascal said to say hello to Auntie Leigh. He said he's a big boy now (in more ways than one!)and that now Mom saves his furs like she does Uncle Shadow's to spin fuzzy soft yarns.
He is quite the comic and is a huge long hair cat now.

Tina T-P said...

Hey! Good for you!! And YUM!! T.

Tina T-P said...

PS - regarding the cheese being so bland - I don't know anything about making cheese but couldn't you put a little salt in the milt to add some flavor? T.

Benita said...

Yes, but what a tastey and nutritional bit of work. Goodness that looks awesome! And what an added treat come this winter. You'll be able to make a pizza from ingredients raised by you.

Marissa said...

Good job! That's very similar to the recipe I use. But I may be able to add some tips to make your success rate increase!

First, always use milk that is 3 days old. Usually, you want to use the freshest milk possible but the pH of older milk is good for this one. Just following that rule made my failures go to almost zero (I made this cheese probably 40 times last year and only had 2 batches go bad - in the crumbly way you describe).

Next, that says to wait 5 minutes for a good curd. Goat milk can, and usually will, take a bit longer. The gals I learned from say they usually just walk away from it for 30 minutes while they do other things. I rarely have that patience, but waiting a bit longer always seems to help with the stretch.

Finally, those same gals said to NEVER heat goat mozz over 150F. I've done it accidentally a few times and the stretch was noticeably worse. I aim for 140F.

And even more finally! To get rid of the bland flavor, soak the mozz in brine. Mix 1/2 gallon of whey and 1/2 gallon of water with a pound of salt. I soak 1/2 lb balls for 2 hours, so you may want to soak a bit longer with the larger ball. Then you need to let it sit in the fridge overnight for the salt to completely diffuse through. The brine can be used over and over, just refrigerate it. I don't like to use cold brine (it makes the cheese even stringier) so I heat it up to about 100F if it's it's been in the fridge.

Good luck and congratulations!

bspinner said...

YUMMM!!!!!! Cheese and pizza look wonderful!!!

Leigh said...

Kathy, thanks! Would love to be able to watch you go through the process. Give L'il Rascal a big hug and a kiss for me. :)

Tina, I agree more salt would help. Adding salt has puzzled me. All recipes say to taste (basically) but I don't know if aging changes the saltiness like pickling and lacto-fermentation. I'm still trying to figure the salt part out. It did taste good on pizza though.

Benita, that's the exciting part, to have a truly homegrown pizza. I'm sure it will get faster as I memorize the recipe and figure a few things out.

Marissa, thank you! Thank you! I did figure out the part about goat milk needing longer to form a good curd, but I never would have figured out the other tips. I'm anxious to try again now. :)

Barb, thanks!

luckybunny said...

It looks delish! Your mozz and your pizza! Congrats :)