July 18, 2011

Cheese Making Update: Goat's Milk Mozzarella

Tasty, melted homemade mozzarella on homemade pizza

When I last blogged about making cheese, I had three hard cheeses under my belt, and was trying my hand at mozzarella. The hard cheeses were still in the 2 month aging process, and the mozzarella making was only going so-so. However I was determined to master it, because mozzarella is one named cheese we use quite often, weekly in fact.

My success rate was 50% at that point. I'd made four batches of mozzarella, but only two turned out. The others ended up as crumbles. Tasteless crumbles. That all changed with Marissa's (Sand Holler Farm) comment to my post. Here's what she said...
"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."
Since incorporating Marissa's advice into my mozzarella making, I've made 7 batches without one failure. My success rate has jumped to 100%!

I know several of you commented on having difficulties making mozzarella too, so I'd like to share how I'm making it now. There are lots of different recipes for mozzarella, but this one is based on the simplest I could find with the fewest added ingredients, Ricki's 30 Minute No Nuke Mozzarella (not a goat milk recipe), incorporating Marissa's tips (specifically for goat milk).

Grating my fresh mozzarella cheese for pizza

A caveat - this recipe is is not meant to be a lesson in cheese making. It is simply the steps I follow, and assumes a basic knowledge of the process, such how to heat the milk, stirring in the rennet, recognizing curd formation, and curd cutting. I just want to share with other beginning cheese makers what's working for me!

Homemade Goat Milk Mozzarella

For the cheese:
1 gallon raw, 3 day old goat milk (mine is spoon skimmed)
1/2 tablespoon citric acid
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet
non-chlorinated water for dissolving citric acid & rennet

For the brine: (prepared ahead of time. Can be reused.)
1/2 gallon whey
1/2 gallon water
1 pound salt

1. Dissolve citric acid in 1/2 cup water. Add to goat milk in large pot. Mix well.

2. Slowly heat milk to 88 - 90 F / 31 - 32 C

3. Dissolve rennet in 1/4 cup water. Add to goat milk. Mix well.

4. Let sit 30 minutes, or until the curd forms (clean break)

5. In the meantime heat a kettle of water. This will be needed for stretching the cheese.

6. Cut curd into 1 inch cubes. Let rest 10 minutes

7. Scoop curds carefully into a colander. (I let my whey catching bowl sit in hot water, to help keep the curds warm.)

8. Fold the curds over on themselves several times, to work out whey

9. In a separate bowl, mix the hot water with cool, for a temp of 140 F/ 60 C. Quickly break or cut the drained curds into 1 to 2 inch pieces, and put in the hot water.

10. As the curd warms, it will get stretchy. Rubber gloves are handy at this point for handling the hot curd; I've also worked it awkwardly but successfully between 2 large wooden spoons.

11. Stretch cheese like taffy until is smooth and glossy. If it begins to break, warm it up in the hot water again.

12. Shape and place in prepared brine for about 2 hours, turning occasionally. If the brine has been refrigerated from previous cheeses, heat to about 100 F / 38 C

13. Remove from brine, towel dry, cover, and place in refrigerator overnight for the salt to permeate the cheese.

Weighing & cutting the cheese before shredding & freezing

I've actually been making this with 3, half-gallons of milk at a time because this is what my pot holds and it's a time saver to make larger batches. From this I get three pizza's worth of cheese. It is a soft, but nicely formed mozzarella. I don't make balls or braid it, because mine is destined to be grated. It is tasty (I could probably eat the whole thing in one sitting all by myself!), easy to shred, and melts beautifully.

My goal now, is to make enough mozzarella to last until milking starts next spring. I'm not sure yet when that will be, so starting from now, I'm aiming toward making, shredding, and freezing 40 pizzas worth of cheese. That should be way more than enough, for pizza or anything else we might want it for. Happily, I'm already more than halfway there. :)

How To Make Mozzarella from Goats' Milk: plus what to do with all that whey including make ricotta. This little eBook was born from my learning how to successfully make goats' milk mozzarella. Mozzarella is now on of my best cheeses!  Explains why this isn't a cows' milk recipe, the difference between quick and cultured mozzarella, all about rennet, all about pasteurization, and what to do with all of that whey, including a recipe for pure whey ricotta. Follow the link for available formats and where to buy.


dr momi said...

I'm going to try your recipe too Leigh. Mine was a bit hard to stretch.....love all your tips.

Cat Eye Cottage said...

Oh, you are amazing! You continue to feed my hunger for goats!

Leigh said...

Richard, I was having problems with the original publishing of this post, and when it got deleted, so did your comment. Sorry about that! I do appreciate it and have to say that if I'd offered you a piece of that pizza and didn't tell you where the mozzarella came from, you'd never guess it was from a goat. :)

Dr. Momi, I wish I could have taken photos of the whole process, but alas, I only have two hands. LOL I'll be curious how this turns out for you, but I suspect you'll like it too.

Candace, that's my secret plan ;)

Lavender Avenue said...

Visiting from the barn hop.

Hooray for your Mozzarella! It feels so good when you get it right doesn't it?

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Thanks so much for all the great tips! Just starting to try cheese with our goats milk... Will be back soon to study more!

Nina said...

looks yummy!

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

This is such an informative post- awesome! I am loving your blog- so much useful homesteading information!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Great instructions ! We sell raw cows milk to approximately 100 customers each month. Many of them make cheese with it. Have I ever made cheese ? Nope. Too busy caring for the cows and calves so we can sell raw milk to others to make cheese. Goofy huh ? But soon, and one day when our big farm sells we will be working just for us. Can't wait !

Leigh said...

Jenn, welcome! You are so right, it feels great.

Leslie, all I can say is cheese making has been an adventure! Kind of like making bread, you don't always know how it'll turn out, but it's still fun, and very rewarding.

Nina, and it is! :)

Megan, thanks! Thanks both for the visit and your kind comment.

Donna, you've got such a long list of things to do once you sell the farm you will have a heck of a time getting to them all!

Bountiful Roses said...

hopefully next year we will have goats. Hope there is cheese in my future!

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

You have probably said it on here before, but do you make your pizza in a regular oven or a brick oven. I am looking for good brick oven pizza dough recipe. I have a great one but it takes 7 hours.

Renee Nefe said...

I'm so happy that you cracked the code for making this cheese.

So you have the hard cheeses, will you try any other recipes?

We had one that resembled Parmesan when we went to the goat dairy...very yummy!

Leigh said...

Bountiful Roses, that's great! When you start milking, you'll likely try your hand at cheese making. It takes some practice, but it is oh so worth it.

Nellie, just a conventional oven so far. Someday I hope to have a brick oven, but the making of that will be awhile. Hopefully we'll get our wood cookstove installed before fall and then I'll be baking pizza with that!

Renee, me too! Your link started me on the road to success. After I get all my mozzarella, I'd like to try Parmesan. Dan loves it grated on everything. After we taste our hard cheese, I hope to work on a recipe to perfect that. And there are a lot of techniques I'd like to try! I'll probably run out of milk before I get to them all, but at least I'm on my way. :)

Doug Pitcher said...

We've had our jersey for a month now and have lots of milk to try this with. We'll let you know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Drooling...that's all I have to say....he he! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I wish I could grab a piece through my computer screen!

Leigh said...

Doug, I would love to hear how it goes. You'll have plenty of milk and lovely cream. Cream is the one thing I don't get much of with goats.

Pam, it is that yummy. :)

Homesteading Chic said...

I hope to have goats one of these days. When I do, I'll have to give this a try. Thanks for the tutorial.


* Crystal * said...

Wooo hoooo!! I'm so happy it's working out now!

I still haven't started cheese making.....seems something is always in the way.

Well perhaps if I'd stop bringing home baby goats that would help! lol Tiny Ella is now consuming 65oz of milk per day & is finally growing properly :)

The cheese looks yummy!!

Breckinsmomma said...

Great Post! How was the quality of the mozzarella after your defrosted it? Did you only freeze shredded mozzarella?

Leigh said...

Breckinsmomma, yes, shredded mozzarella is the only type if cheese I froze. The rest were hard cheeses that I waxed. The mozzarella defrosted as though it was never frozen and you couldn't tell by taste or texture. In my experience, frozen cheese tends to get crumbly, but if it's already shredded, no problem!

Anonymous said...

How many ounces of cheese are you getting per each 1/2 gallon of milk?
Thanks for the inspiring and helpful post!

Leigh said...

Anonymous, amazingly the results vary. My best weights were with whole milk and I got a about a half pound or better of cheese, per 1/2 gallon of milk.

Ngo Family Farm said...

Ooh, I'm so hungry for some of your pizza now! I'm just starting to venture into cheese making. It seems a bit like baking - it's taking me some time to become skilled and recognize when something's not going right!

Hanna said...

I have had my goats for just one week and Just made my first moz ever using your recipe. Found it from a google search. :) Will definately be bookmarking this blog! Love it.

Leigh said...

Jaime that's a good analysis. There's a science to it and an art. Seems experience helps develop the artisan in all of us. :)

Hanna, I'm so pleased it helped! thank you for letting me know. :)

Anonymous said...

I only have rennet tabs. Can I use these? Hopefully picking up a milking goat in milk next week

Leigh said...

Oh yes, rennet tablets are good to use too. In fact, I understand it has a better shelf life than the liquid. I get liquid because on a per cheese basis, it's cheaper. There's some helpful Q&A for rennet, here.

Meghan said...

I, too have been using your recipe and tips and am extremely grateful. I've made it twice now, both times a success, however there's always a thick cream that comes out when it's heated after draining the whey off. Then also there's a layer of thick cream that rises to the top of the whey when it sits. What am I doing wrong?
My yield was only .7 lbs of cheese for 1 gallon of milk and I understand I should be getting more like 1lb.
Any advice would be great - thanks!

Leigh said...

Hi Meghan. I'm happy to hear this recipe has worked well for you. I'm afraid I don't have good answers to your questions, however, because I have the same problems and have yet to find answers.

I think about all of my yields have been below the supposed pound per gallon. I just made mozzarella this afternoon and got a 12 ounce cheese from one gallon of milk. Maybe it has to do with goat milk, I'm not sure. I know that the higher the temperature, the more whey is cooked out and hence a decreased yield. Rikki Carroll also mentions that the more mozzarella is kneaded and stretched, the more whey is worked out.

For mozzarella, I've been skimming my milk. For our purposes, skimmed milk has tasted fine; for hard cheeses I don't like skimmed milk and leave the cream in. I save the cream for butter.

Maybe someday I'll figure this out and share it. I do my research during winter, when there isn't so much to do outside. :)

Anonymous said...

Bless you, bless you, *bless* you. I had been informed that goat's milk mozzarella didn't work and that was that, and it was especially upsetting to me because I have developed a severe allergy to bovine proteins, and cow's milk cheese is just flat off limits to me anymore. Di bufala mozza is lovely and tasty, but it's also wet and squishy and absolutely cannot be grated, and it's *really* expensive. I have a source for raw goat's milk locally. This is saving my sanity. Thank you SO much for sharing!!!

Candy C. said...

I'm off to give your recipe a try! Can't believe I haven't come across it before. :)
I have had bad luck trying to make mozzarella with my goat milk, even following the recipe in Goats Produce Too - The Udder Real Thing. It always comes out too hard.
My good milker is giving me between 1 1/2 and 2 gallons a day so I am making cheese like crazy! LOL!!

Leigh said...

You're welcome!

Leigh said...

Oh my, that's an excellent milker! I have had great success with this recipe. One tip I can give you, is that the more you knead and stretch the cheese, the drier (harder) it will be. That may help too.

norma said...

Research shows that asthma in children improves asthma after a few months of use goat milk.