Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Homemade Mozzarella, Take One
It takes kind of a lot for me to be amazed by something that happens in the kitchen. I mean, I've studied cooking, I've watched a lot of Good Eats, and I work at a culinary school, so I get that pitas puff in the heat of the oven, corn pops when it gets too hot and proteins caramelize to make many things tastier. This doesn't mean I'm hard to impress (really!) just that few things really feel magical to me anymore.
I've made fresh, no-rennet cheeses plenty of times - ricotta, paneer, things of that nature. But making mozzarella feels like magic. Milky, delicious magic. You start with a pot of milk, turn it into milky jello, and then after a couple of quick trips in the microwave, you can roll it into a ball. A ball of CHEESE!
I followed the directions from Animal Vegetable Miracle pretty much to the letter (except I cut the recipe in half, so I used shorter bursts in the microwave.) We ate this blob yesterday, under some of last summer's slow roasted tomatoes, a flurry of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil and condimento balsamico. I wish I had added more salt while I was making the cheese. I also wish I had left it with a little more moisture (experienced cheesemakers: could I use a little less rennet for a more tender cheese?).
Apologies for crappy iPhone photos, but do know that I'll be making this again VERY soon. Roasted tomatoes, while delicious, are entirely different from fresh, and I'm happy to have time to perfect my mozzarella technique before tomato season rolls around again.